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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Great Sperm Race: The Most Extreme Race on Earth. Scaled To Human Size (plus bonus Monty Python)

A contest with 250 million competitors; only one winner... relentless obstacles, outrageous fatality rate.
Within 30 minutes of ejaculation, over 99 percent of the sperm will be dead or dying. But for those that remain it will be a vicious 14-hour fight to the end, with only one champion!
Sizing Up Sperm uses real people to represent 250 million sperm on their marathon quest to be first to reach a single egg; it was made by NatGeo and appeared on NBC in 2009:
Scaled up to human size with the sperm played by real people, The Great Sperm Race tells the story of human conception as it's never been told before using helicopter-mounted cameras, world-renowned scientists, CGI and dramatic reconstruction to illustrate the extraordinary journey of sperm.
With the microscopic world of sperm and egg accurately scaled up by 34,000 times, we see the human-sized heroes negotiate some of the world's most striking landscapes when the epic proportions of the vagina become the Canadian Rockies and the buildings on London's South Bank symbolise the intricacies of the cervix.
With the female body designed to repel and destroy invaders, from acidic vaginal walls to impassable cervical crypts, the sperm face unremitting obstacles. 'The battle that sperm have in order to find and fertilise an egg is just immense,' explains Dr Allan Pacey.
'Everything is working against sperm and they're not really given a helping hand by the female reproductive tract.'
A team of Leukocytes from the female immune system are sent to kill the sperm in the uterus:

On the left you see sperm squished in the cervix, and on the right is an army of freshly created sperm waiting inside a giant testicle. 

Here's a trailer for the show (and here's a link to the whole thing, divided into 10 minute youtube size bits):

And, of course, Monty Python's Every Sperm is Sacred skit from The Meaning Of Life:

via the excellent Dark Roasted Blend, which has additional images.


  1. Sperm are Sacred, not Scared

    1. Wow, could that possible have been a Freudian slip? I don't see how - I guess sometimes a typo is just a typo. Thanks for the heads up - fixed!