The undoubtedly age-old question of which primate possesses the biggest testicles in the world seems to be effectively resolved. According to a new study by a group of scientists from the United Kingdom and Germany, Madagascar’s Mirza zaza, known colloquially as the northern giant mouse lemur, wins the aforementioned distinction in grand fashion.
International Business Times did the math, determining that if a human male had testes that were in proportion to those possessed by the comparatively tiny lemur, they would be the size of grapefruits. For what it’s worth, the northern giant mouse lemur tips the scales at a mere 0.7 pounds.
BBC News’ analysis of the scientists’ study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology indicates that Mirza zaza males have an average testes volume of 15.48 cubic centimeters (0.94 cubic inches). Proportionately speaking, that figure suggests that 5.5 percent of the average northern giant mouse lemur’s body is its testicles. By comparison, an adult male human’s average testes volume is somewhere around 0.05 percent of his body.
“My first thought was, ‘My God, how can they walk and climb without bumping their testes everywhere?’ ” said study co-author Johanna Rode-Margono in comments to the Western Daily Press. “We always found it odd that they are called ‘giant’ mouse lemurs when they belong to the family of the dwarf and mouse lemurs. But now we can say that we now know why — giant was not referring to their body size.”
The above-noted study also includes interesting findings regarding the northern giant mouse lemur’s mating habits. The Daily Mail notes that the male lemurs are described as possessing a “voracious” appetite for sex, adding that they roam widely in search of as many mates as possible. Scientists think there is a relationship between the size of the lemurs’ testicles and their penchant for frequent sex.
As previously reported by Inquisitr, a number of types of lemurs are at risk of extinction in Madacascar. The northern giant mouse lemur was first discovered in 2005 and it is currently listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” of endangered species. Forest clearance and slash-and-burn agricultural activities are cited by the organization as a primary threat to the Mirza zaza.
With its newly discovered and much-touted testicular endowment, the northern giant mouse lemur is gathering momentum as a minor celebrity in the world of zoology. Hopefully, the novelty of the creature’s anatomical peculiarity will affect the kind of awareness and change to move Mirza zaza and their brethren off of endangered species rosters and into a more comfortable existence.
[Image by Russell Mittermeier via International Business Times]