Shortly afterwards, he decided to look at his ejaculate – certainly not a coincidence – and discovered tiny, screaming creatures with tails, which he called “animalcules”.
As scientists have continued to look at microscopes from above for centuries, there is no doubt what their eyes saw and recorded on film: Sperm float by moving their tails from side to side.
Why shouldn’t we trust our eyes? That is what science has believed since.
It turned out that our eyes were wrong.
“To see the real pounding of the tail, you have to move with the sperm and take turns with the sperm. It’s almost like making a camera really small and sticking it on the head of a sperm, “Gadelha said.
Gadelha’s co-authors, Gabriel Corkidi and Alberto Darszon of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, have developed a way to achieve this. Using state-of-the-art tools, including a high-speed camera that can capture more than 55,000 frames per second, scientists have seen that moving from side to side was in fact an optical illusion.
In fact, the tail of the sperm is tied to only one side.
This unilateral stroke should cause sperm to float in a constant circle, Gadelha said. But no, sperm were smarter.
“Human sperm have found that when they swim, like playful otters that run out of water, their one-sided stroke would average itself and swim forward,” said Gadelha, an expert in fertility mathematics.
“Sperm rotation is something very important. It’s something that allows sperm to regain symmetry and 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 cross-checking math. The results were performed: as well as the Earth It turned out not to be flat, sperm don’t actually swim like snakes or eels.
So why does it matter?
“It is possible that the motile movement hides some subtle aspects about the health of this sperm or how well it can travel quickly,” Gadelha said.
“These are all very hypothetical questions. We hope to be more interested in fertility scientists and experts and ask, “OK, how will this affect infertility? ‘ “
Gadelha is humble when it comes to reversing more than 300 years of scientific presupposition.
“Oh God, 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 are right at the moment, but we could be wrong again as science progresses. And hopefully it will be something very exciting to learn in the years to come. ‘ “