NCBI ROFL: Do your balls hang low? Do they wobble to and fro?

By ncbi rofl | February 25, 2010 7:00 pm

4044289768_16a4018652Swinging high and low: Why do the testes hang at
different levels? A theory on surface area and

“Anatomically, one or the other half of the scrotal sac hangs at a lower level than the other. The testes, housed within the sacs are also situated, suspended, one slightly lower than its other counterpart. While many theories on why and how of the testicular levels have been proposed, including those engendered by vascular, functional, embryological or evolutionary influences, none of the proposed scientific reasons are totally convincing.  In our view, one additional, yet overlooked cause for the naturally displaced level could be, simply, to expose more surface area of the active organ to cooler environs. While it is an accepted fact that suspension of the scrotum outside the abdominal cavity is paramount to the functional efficiency of testes in a preferred lower temperature – it still does not address the question – why hang at different levels?… In effect, just by suspension at two levels, nearly one entire extra surface is available for thermoregulation and cooling. That is, the surface area available now becomes two lateral, plus two halves of the two medial. This extra area available to the testes, probably is, yet another a significant but overlooked embryonic factor that dictates differential rates of descent and displacement of anatomical levels of twin reproductive male organs.”


Thanks to Eric for today’s ROFL!

Photo: flickr/brownpau

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: penis friday.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: The case of the haunted scrotum.

  • Joanna Cake

    If you liked this, you might want to know about the perineal raphe, that line on your scrotum. Why it’s there and how it can determine your sexuality

  • thotso

    Interesting theory, and it makes sense, but Occam’s Razor (yikes) might suggest a simpler one. Testicles take up more horizontal space when hanging side-by-side, so they are more likely to get squeezed between the legs or banged against each other during activity – while walking, for instance. So, guys whose balls hang side-by-side may be more susceptible to testicle injury than up-and-down guys, and therefore less likely to have kids. Possibly a survey or some kind of ER statistics could be found to support this theory…?

  • Naveen

    i really like your digg…’s good to know about the location of our testicles…..

  • Dertiv

    If they we hanging perfectly at the same level…it would be like Clackers when you walk…

  • ballser

    thotso has to be right. it’s what I was thinking.


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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


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