Feeds

The bigger the balls, the smaller the brains

In bats, that is

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A Syracuse University research team has discovered something quite remarkable, if not immediately useful in everyday life*: bats belonging to species where the females are promiscuous have bigger testicles than those in species where the girls are more family-oriented.

There is, however, a price to pay: the bigger your 'nads, the smaller your brains, according to team leading biologist Scott Pitnick, who quipped: "It turns out size does matter."

Pitnick's research, which according to AP features in last December's Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Science, concludes that males in some species "make an evolutionary trade-off between intelligence and sexual prowess", as bat-mating expert David Hoskens of Exeter Uni explained.

Pitnick's team examined 334 bat species, finding that in those with monogamous females, males had testes ranging from 0.11 per cent of their body weight to 1.4 per cent. In contrast, in species with promiscuous females, the testicles ranged from 0.6 per cent to 8.5 per cent of the males' mass. Rafinesque's big-eared bat was apparently the species with the league-topping testes.

"Bats invest an enormous amount in testis, and the investment has to come from somewhere. There are no free lunches," Hoskens illuminated. The reason your bat might be obliged to invest so much in the trouser department is simple. "If female bats mate with more than one male, a sperm competition begins. The male who ejaculates the greatest number of sperm wins the game, and hence many bats have evolved outrageously big testes."

Naturally, if you've put all your energy into record-breaking nuts because the girls on your block are putting it about, you might have an "adaptive advantage", but there simply is not enough energy left to invest in a bigger brain.

Bat chaps are not the only males who walk bow-legged with a vacant expression on their faces - chimpanzees too are promiscuous and their cojones are much bigger than those of gorillas, where one bloke controls several females without fear of competition.

Bootnote

* Oh, alright then - it's a real dinner party show stopper: "Yes, it's true: the poor thing had bollocks like bowling balls but was as thick as ten short planks nailed together..."

And thanks to reader John Emery for the testicular heads-up.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.