MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Do animals with the highest testosterone level's have the largest muscles?

Date: Sun Oct 1 21:50:57 2006
Posted By: Mitchell Maltenfort, Staff, Neurosurgery, Thomas Jefferson University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 1159706463.Zo

Dear Asim,

Your question -- are gorillas more muscular because they have more
testosterone --  implies that a human with enough testosterone could
develop the same muscle mass as a gorilla.

It's not going to work that way. Within humans, we have a range of body
types.  Some of us will have the potential to be professional bodybuilders
and football players, and many of us won't.  I certainly don't.  Megadoses
of testosterone might make me more muscular, but the effect would saturate
at some point, probably shy of Refrigerator Perry.

There's an interesting theory that a defective gene, causing smaller jaw
muscles, allowed humans to develop larger brains -- describes the evidence.  

The question is then why did we "lose" the mass in the rest of our muscles?
 Did the defective gene affect other muscles, or did our musculature
co-evolve with the developing brain in order to be more amenable to
sophisticated control?



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