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Sperm Science Decoded: Why mouse has larger sperm than elephants

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Scientists have decoded the sperm science and have revealed some interesting facts. You won’t believe but mouse has larger sperm size when compared to the sperm size of elephants. In fact, researchers drew a general relation between body size and sperm — Larger the body, smaller the sperm size and vice-versa.

Another interesting fact that was unveiled was the animal with the longest sperm — tiny fruit fly named Drosophila bifurca has the longest sperms that are nearly 5.8 centimetres (2.3 inches) long. The fruit fly produces highly-coiled sperms that are nearly 20 times the length of its own body and about 1000 times the size of human sperm.

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Professors from the University of Zurich studied the sperm science and found that larger animals produce shorter sperms but in very large quantities while smaller animals ejaculate longer sperms but in very low numbers.

Study authors explained that an elephant produces more than 200 billion sperms each of size 56 micrometers in one go while a mouse produces 124 micrometres long 9.5 million sperms at a time. Although the mouse has twice larger sperm size than elephant’s but a mouse produces sperms in lesser numbers. Scientists have decoded the reason behind such anomaly.

John Fitzpatrick and his colleague Stefan Lupold, who conducted the study explained that bigger animals have larger duct and they boast risk of sperms getting lost in the midway and they might not fuse with eggs. Thus, they need sperms in very large quantities to ensure that the sperm fuses with eggs. While smaller animals have smaller ducts thus longer sperms in low numbers enhance the probability of producing the child.

“This demonstrates that the location where sperm compete – inside the female’s reproductive tract in mammals – determines when it pays a male to produce longer or more sperm,” Fitzpatrick said.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London.

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