Yo, nature! You're crazy, bro. You have to know you're crazy. I mean, you do a great job with a lot of shit—my teeth totally grind up food like a boss; my precision grip is hella virtuosic on the DVR remote; my feet and pelvic angle crush verticality. But seriously, WHAT IS YOUR DEAL WITH BALLS?
We keep all of our other major organs tucked waaaaaay up inside our bodily meat-vaults, protected by bony cages and musclebound walls and fat moats, but then the delicate testes are just expected to bounce around in a gossamer skin hammock and hope for the best? And it's not like they're some inconsequential garbage organ, either—they're kind of important for making more of us. So what the fuck, natural selection?
This isn't a new question. In fact, people have asked the "why do I have to carry these pain grenades around in a swinging crotch bindle" question so many times that it's pretty much hack at this point. However, that doesn't change the fact that we still don't know the answer. Conventional wisdom dictates that human testicles are external because sperm factories function best at a couple degrees below body temperature. But, it turns out, actual ball scientists are split on the matter.
Liam Drew at Slate explains:
Some of you may be thinking that there is a simple answer: temperature. This arrangement evolved to keep them cool. I thought so, too, and assumed that a quick glimpse at the scientific literature would reveal the biological reasons and I’d move on. But what I found was that the small band of scientists who have dedicated their professional time to pondering the scrotum’s existence are starkly divided over this so-called cooling hypothesis.
Reams of data show that scrotal sperm factories, including our own, work best a few degrees below core body temperature. The problem is, this doesn’t prove cooling was the reason that testicles originally descended. It’s a straight-up chicken-and-egg situation—did testicles leave the kitchen because they couldn't stand the heat, or do they work best in the cold because they had to leave the body?
I DON'T KNOW, MAN. I JUST DON'T KNOW. IF ONLY THE CHICKENS COULD TALK.
Now. If you like fascinating little-known scrotal facts, you really must go read the rest of Drew's article. (Sample: Did you know that marsupials have their scrota in front of their penises—like Gonzo's face if he were carved out of ham?) Though there are plenty of theories about the utility of external scrotes, not a single nardologist has reached a concrete conclusion. Mysterious!
But for the moment, I'd like to address the future of ballsacks, not the past. Even if we can't quite figure out how we got here, perhaps we can give evolution a nudge in the right direction—in hopes that our future sons and brothers will no longer have to fiercely guard their upside-down pants-Dementors against errant soccer-ball Patronuses.
IDEAS FOR THE NEXT PHASE OF BALLSACK EVOLUTION:
1. Tiny skulls.
2. Symbiotic relationship with a small squirrel or weasel, who will fight off attackers in exchange for shelter and all-you-can-eat nad-flies.
3. Ditto #2 but with bats.
4. Ditto #3 but with a bunch of spiders.
5. Mithril cloak.
6. Decoy nutsacks all over the body, so predators don't know which one to bop.
7. Joy buzzer.
8. Squirting flower.
9. Snake in the peanut brittle.
10. Do you want to borrow my old-timey spyglass? I promise it doesn't have ink on the eyehole!
11. Wait, what does that have to do with me punching you in the nuts?
12. Haha! Misdirection! While you were confused, all of the balls escaped out the back!
14. Scrotum detaches from body entirely and follows its human around like a sarcastic daemon familiar.
15. Second false scrotum detaches from body and clunks to the floor, distracting nearby foes. (Scrotum is made of gold.)
16. When an aggressor gets too close, specialized ball fins rub together creating a high-pitched keening that sounds exactly like Farrah Abraham talking about her Twitter feed getting hacked.