After a long time, he decided to see his ejaculate – eventually not an accident – and discovered small, wagging creatures that he called “animal animals.”
As scientists over the centuries continued to look down from under their microscopes, there is no doubt what they saw and recorded their eyes on film: Sperms float moving their tails apart.
Why should we not trust our eyes? So this is what science has believed since then.
A ̵6;sperm trick’
It turns out that our eyes were not okay.
“If you want to see the real tail beating, you have to move with the sperm and rotate with the sperm. So it’s almost like you need to make (a camera) really small and stick it to the head. sperm, “said Gadelha.
Gadelha co-founders Gabriel Corkidi and Alberto Darszon of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico developed a way to do it. Using state-of-the-art tools, including a high-speed camera that can record over 55,000 frames per second, the researchers were able to see that moving away from each other was actually an optical illusion.
In reality, the tail of a sperm only hits one side.
This one-sided blow should make the sperm swim in a permanent circle, Gadelha said. But no, sperm were smarter than that.
“The human sperm realized if they roll while swimming, more or less like otters toys waving through the water, their one-sided hit would be the average of themselves, and they would swim forward,” said Gadelha, who is an expert in the mathematics of fertility.
“Sperm rotation is something that is very important. It’s something that allows sperm to regain a symmetry and actually be able to go straight,” he said.
The findings were a real surprise, Gadelha said, so the team spent nearly two years repeating the experiment and checking the math intersection. Retained results: just like Earth turned out not to be flat, sperm do not really swim like snakes and eels.
So why does this matter?
“It could be that motility hides some subtle aspects about the health of this sperm or how well it can travel fast,” Gadelha said.
“These are very hypothetical questions. What we hope is that more scientists and fertility experts will be interested and ask, ‘Okay, how does this affect infertility?’
As for what feels like backward over 300 years of scientific assumptions, Gadelha is modest.
“Oh gosh, I always have a deep feeling inside that I’m always wrong,” he said.
“Who knows what we’ll find next? This is a measurement given by an instrument that has its limitations. We’re right at this time, but we may be wrong again as science advances. And hopefully we will be something very exciting that we will do learn in the coming years “.