Human Sperms Fooled Scientists for more than 300 years: Sperms do not swim, they spin Human Sperms Fooled Scientists for more than 300 years. It’s crazy how for more than 300 years, scientists believed that the human sperm “swims” across the female’s reproductive system! The human sperm travels through the fluid and reaches the egg. Earlier, scientists were under the impression that the sperms move their tails side to side (in a swaying movement). However, as per the latest research, the sperm tail can move only on one side. Hence, they don’t swim but spin as they move forward. This discovery can help understand sperm health for the better. Besides, it may also help diagnose the cure for male infertility. Sperms: All about it! Sperm (or spermatozoa) is significant for the fertilisation of almost every living organism. To facilitate reproduction, sperms have to move a certain distance to reach the egg (or ovum). They do so by wiggling their tails to swim forward. Out of the 100 millions of sperm ejaculated, 50 million fail to reach the egg. It only takes a single sperm to reach the egg and fertilize it. The sperm was discovered in 1677. However, it took scientists 200 years to uncover how humans were formed. Though scientists now better understand the importance that sperm plays in reproduction, the latest research has discovered that sperm have actually been fooling scientists this whole time. Sperms were thought to swim like eels Before it was discovered that sperms spin, they were thought to swim like eels. In the 17th century, Antony Van Leeuwenhoek discovered sperm for the first time. He called it a “living animalcule” with a “tail”. Leeuwenhoek mentioned that it swims as eels do in water - with its tail moving in a swaying manner. Strikingly, our perception has remained the same. Scientists believed so and students were taught so. Anyone who uses a modern microscope will make the same observation. But as the latest research shows, we have been wrong all this while. Sperms Spin not Swim Using state-of-the-art 3D microscopy technology, a team of researchers from the UK and Mexico were able to mathematically reconstruct the rapid movement of the sperm tail in 3D. It was a difficult task because the size of the sperm is too small. Besides, their tails only measure half a hair’s breadth, making it all the more difficult. The tail's whip-like movement is capable of beating over 20 swimming strokes in less than one second. A super-fast camera was installed to mount the fast oscillating movement of the sperm tail. What was discovered would blow the mind in pieces! The sperm tail is, in fact, wonky and only wiggles on one side. Thus, they cannot swim. They roll as they swim forward, much like the way otters corkscrew through the water. Because of its rapid and synchronised movement, it caused an illusion of a side-to-side movement - when seen through 2D microscopes. However, when observed under a 3D microscope, they showed spinning movements. What causes sperm to not swim? As aforesaid, the sperm tail can only move on one side. Hence, the tail rolls in circles as it moves forward. For the sperm to swim, it needed a two-way motion. For 350 years, sperms were believed to swim. However, the latest 3D microscope technology results show that sperms spin and not swim. Sperms Spinning and Male Infertility With the novel use of 3D microscope technology combined with mathematics, it was observed that sperms have ingeniously solved a mathematical puzzle: by creating symmetry out of asymmetry. This may provide a fresh outlook on unlocking the secrets of male infertility. With over half of infertility caused by male factors, understanding the human sperm tail is fundamental. This can help provide future diagnostic tools for better identifying unhealthy sperms and boosting male fertility. FAQs 1. Do sperm cells swim? No. Earlier it was believed that sperm cells swim. As per the latest research, sperms spin and not swim. 2. Do sperm swim in spirals? Yes. Sperm rolls in circles. 3. Do sperm swim straight? No. They move haphazardly. 4. How does the sperm actually swim? The sperm do not swim, they spin. Its tail moves only on one side. 5. Why do my sperm swim in circles? The sperm’s tail moves only on one side. Hence, it swims in circles. 6. Can sperm swim from outside the body to inside? No. Sperm needs a water medium to swim. 7. Does sperm swim to the egg? Yes. Sperm swims to the egg. 8. Is sperm alive? Ejaculated sperm remain viable for several days within the female reproductive tract. It remains alive for up to 5 days. 9. Why does sperm have a tail? Sperm has a tail to facilitate movement. That’s all the information that we have at the moment. If you liked the article and found it informative, please leave a comment down below. Also, don’t forget to bookmark our website for all the latest news and updates. Cheers!