Weird Science Weekly: Larger testicles means more infidelity in female mates

In this week's instalment of Weird Science Weekly, we're looking at some of the strangest science that's come out as of late, including a study linking testicle size to female infidelity and a 40-kilometre dive through the Earth's atmosphere that shows Felix Baumgartner have something to wonder about ...

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more faithful mate in the primate world...

Bigger testicles means less faithful mates

There's a lot of advice out there if you want to see if your mate is cheating on you, but apparently one group of scientists has gone above and beyond the call of duty to find a general trend for infidelity. What they learned was that if a species has bigger testicles, there's more cheating going on.

"We can determine the degree of fidelity in the female by looking at the size of the male's testicles. The less faithful the female, the larger the male’s testicles," said Petter Bøckman, from the University of Oslo, in Norway, according to The Telegraph. "If the male will only fertilize one female and has no competitors, he only needs sufficient sperm to reach the egg. If the female mates on the side, it is smart to have as many cars as possible in the race. Then, the male must have testicles that are as large as possible."

Don't go breaking out the measuring tape, though (since that's probably not going to go over very well, regardless of who's trying to do the measuring). Bøckman and his colleagues didn't specifically look at humans for their study. They factored humans in, but they compared the testicle size of several different primates, like gorillas and bonobos.

"In gorilla troops there is only one male. Even though the gorilla has a small harem, he has no need for large testicles — his balls are tiny," Bøckman said in the interview. Bonobos, on the other hand, mate in large groups, and thus have larger testicles to produce more abundant semen.

Where to humans show up on the infidelity chart? Well, Bøckman and the rest of the study group found that human males have testicles that are roughly one and a half times larger than those of a male gorilla.

"This testifies with abundant clarity to life in our flock," he said. "We can pledge our fidelity until we are blue in the face, but this is evidence that our females are cheating. We are not like chimpanzees, where the female has four or five sexual partners every time she is in heat, but there is always a certain likelihood that the neighbouring male has dropped by."

[ Related: Weird Science Weekly: Getting sick stinks…literally ]

New footage of Felix Baumgartner's 'space dive' will have you wondering about his testicle size

When Felix Baumgartner took a 40-kilometre dive to Earth from near-space back in October 2012, we were all pretty impressed. New footage of his jump just surfaced this week, with crystal-clear imagery taken by the cameras attached to his suit. Watch below (and jump to about 1:30 to get right to the action), but be warned that it can cause a little vertigo at times.

Not only is this just a spectacular view of what it looks like from the edge of space, an incredible amount of science and technology went into getting Felix up there and back down safely. There's way too much to go into just in this short post, but you can read all about it here.

[ More Geekquinox: Mystery of strange Baltic Sea underwater circles finally explained ]

Keep your eyes on the wonders of science, and if you spot anything particularly strange you'd like me to check out for next week, comment below or drop me a line on Twitter!

(Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

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