Does whales have giant sperms ?

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Does whales have giant sperms ?




  1. No, it is about the same size as everyone else's.

  2. If human sperm are microscopic, then are blue whale sperm larger? If so how large are they?

    Gary McLoud, Wiley City, Washington, USA

    Blue sperm whales have only become as large as they are in response to long-term exposure to environmental factors - long-term, but really quite short-term compared to how long their kind, including their ancestors, have been around. Before they were whales, they were a kind of seagoing carnivore, not unlike a seal, but with the proportions of a rat. Before that, a wolf-sized predator, a kind of hairy crocodile in shape. The previous identifiable stage was when they were not only rat-shaped but rat-sized, too. And at the same approximate time-period, the common ancestor of apes and makind was itself not much more than a rat. So really, in evolutionary terms, there isn't much between a man and a whale. Whether the p***s producing the ejaculate is six inches or six feet in length, the sperm in it are petty much the same size.

    John Bennett, Glasgow, Scotland

    Sperm size varies between species, but it's nothing to do with how big the animal is. Sperm and ova are different sizes due to competition between males and females: sperm are basically parasitising big immobile, nutrient laden ova. Another ova-type s*x cell COULD fertilise an ovum but fast, sneaky sperm have got in there first, in terms of evolution. There is some argument, but sperm size may vary IN and BETWEEN species due to how much they compete against other sperm from other males: a long tail or a big midpiece with lots of energy-providing mitochondria (the fuel tank) may outcompete (get the egg) smaller, slower sperm. Proportionally the biggest sperm is from a kind of fruit fly and is longer by several times the male fly's own body. The size of blue whale sperm probably depends on whether female whales mate with more than one male and promote 'sperm competition'.

    Bill Bateman, Pretoria South Africa

    "Proportionally the biggest sperm is from a kind of fruit fly and is longer by several times the male fly's own body." So, does he carry it around in a holdall then?

    Annie, Edinburgh, UK

    About the same. Bigger organisms don't have bigger cells, just more of them.

    Gerry Kavanagh, Galway Ireland

    The thing is, sperm are cells. The thing with cells is that they can only get so big before they quit functioning. This is because of the surface-to-volume ratio, which decreases as the size increases (ie. less surface area to larger volume) in spheres. Cells need surface area to trade materials and stuff with the outside (wastes, gasses, everything). So, sperm can only get so big, and probably not all that big considering the size of a whale.

    Amanda, North Carolina United States

  3. No i think whale sperm is the same sort of size as most other mammals. Drosophila bifurca however (a type of fruit fly) produces sperm a massive 5.3cm long (the longest in the world) and is 23 times bigger than the fly.

    just an int resting fact i thought you might like to know.

  4. Cetology, the study of cetaceans, is my field, and I thought I could find the answer to your question easily, but I was mistaken.  I've personally helped do autopsies on several dead whales, but in each case, the tissues had decomposed beyond the point at which even dead sperm could be recognized.  

    All of he great whales except the Pacific gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus). mate in deep water, so we know almost nothing about their mating behavior much less about their sperm.

    I've seen gray whale sperm, or at least some sperm that happened to be in water samples taken following such mating, and I've seen them under a microscope, but I couldn't begin to tell you how big they were relative to human sperm.  I couldn't find a single record of any measurement of  whale sperm in any of the logical places and it's possible that nobody has ever thought to check it out.

    Plenty of fresh whale gonads have been available to whalers all along, but they had better things to do than prepare histological slides of whale gonad tissue.

    If anybody would know, it is the Japanese.  They love to eat whale, and they got around the whaling moratorium by claiming to be taking "a few" for "scientific purposes," but they had to do at least a little science in the process to justify their actions, and sperm size strikes me as just the sort of information they'd be most likely to collect.  

    Finally, I checked with a vet who said that there is very little difference in sperm size among mammals, unlike insects, which have huge variations, so the best answer to your question, at this point in time, is probably not.

  5. No. An animal does not necessarily have larger s*x cells just because its body is larger. For example, the sperms of a mouse are larger than those of an elephant.

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