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Thread: Is Sperm a Living Organism?

  1. #1 Is Sperm a Living Organism? 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Doesn't reproduce, does it? While I'm at it, what about the unfertilized egg? Just curious.


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
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    Yes, it's a short lived haploid part of mammal cycle of life.


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  4. #3  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Yes, it's a short lived haploid part of mammal cycle of life.
    Wiki answers:
    As science defines it, to be living, a thing must be capable of growth, reproduction and metabolism.
    Is there a special definition of life for sperm?
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  5. #4  
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    Sperm is certainly alive, it is one of the two haploid forms of the human organism. The other haploid form of human is the unfertilized egg. Under the proper conditions a haploid form may join with another haploid form of the opposit type and become a diploid form human. If all goes well that diploid form will mature to produce many more haploid humans. Male diploid humans are just the sperm's method of reproducing themselves.
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Male diploid humans are just the sperm's method of reproducing themselves.
    Great line!!!
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    You wouldn't be asking this question if you had ever watched those bad boys move under a microscope!
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  8. #7  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    You wouldn't be asking this question if you had ever watched those bad boys move under a microscope!
    Oh I have. Yet it seems more like an ingredient packet for a recipe.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  9. #8  
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    Hmm, something that cooks itself! Now that would be nice
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  10. #9  
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    i have wondered about something similar though. for example, aren't viruses considered nonliving because they need a host cell in order to reproduce? if this is the case, then why are obligate intracellular organisms like mycobacterium leprae considered living?
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  11. #10  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    Sperm is certainly alive, it is one of the two haploid forms of the human organism. The other haploid form of human is the unfertilized egg. Under the proper conditions a haploid form may join with another haploid form of the opposit type and become a diploid form human. If all goes well that diploid form will mature to produce many more haploid humans. Male diploid humans are just the sperm's method of reproducing themselves.
    Does diploid contribute to the occurrence of twin birth?
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Does diploid contribute to the occurrence of twin birth?
    Of course....it is the form of all births.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post
    Does diploid contribute to the occurrence of twin birth?
    Of course....it is the form of all births.
    I think maybe I just misunderstood the post. I thought it was suggesting that two sperms bond to make a diploid or two eggs bond.. And that maybe that contributed to the division of an embryo into identical twins.

    I also had some liquor in me when I read it so I may not have had all circuits running. Now when I read it, I can't figure out where exactly I got that impression from.
    Speaking badly about people after they are gone and jumping on the bash the band wagon must do very well for a low self-esteem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    i have wondered about something similar though. for example, aren't viruses considered nonliving because they need a host cell in order to reproduce? if this is the case, then why are obligate intracellular organisms like mycobacterium leprae considered living?
    anyone know?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    anyone know?
    Ohhh...


    I don't know...


    Last I knew, a virus was considered to be nonliving. In the end, it's all labels. It's close enough, in my book.
    Hell, if you go by my definition of life, we count as non-living chaotic complex macro-molecules.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    You wouldn't be asking this question if you had ever watched those bad boys move under a microscope!
    Oh I have. Yet it seems more like an ingredient packet for a recipe.
    The recipe being the "buns in the oven" I'm guessing?
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  17. #16  
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    Things have to be able to reproduce themselves to be living, right? So when you neuter your dog, it becomes non-alive? :P
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    Yes.
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  19. #18  
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    Well that's depressing.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piemaster View Post
    Well that's depressing.
    Just don't tell the dog and he should be fine.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Piemaster View Post
    Well that's depressing.
    Just don't tell the dog and he should be fine.
    In that case I died almost 8 years ago.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    i have wondered about something similar though. for example, aren't viruses considered nonliving because they need a host cell in order to reproduce? if this is the case, then why are obligate intracellular organisms like mycobacterium leprae considered living?
    Viruses should be considered living because they exhibit the basic characteristics of life. But perhaps in some antiquated textbooks they're not.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piemaster View Post
    Things have to be able to reproduce themselves to be living, right? So when you neuter your dog, it becomes non-alive?
    Your post has highlighted something I've not considered before. If the ability to enact reproduction is one of the markers to identify living organisms, how does Sterility and Infertility factor into our classification of living organisms? That is to say are people who are sterile and/or infertile still considered living organisms? Is it a crime to kill someone like that; i.e. rob them of their "non-life".

    I will spend sometime thinking about this implication, and I thank you for offering this perspective.
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    No need, really. The classification system does not require all obligations be fully filled, but that they are primarily filled. A sterile animal or plant still qualifies as living because it fulfills the basic requirements.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    No need, really. The classification system does not require all obligations be fully filled, but that they are primarily filled. A sterile animal or plant still qualifies as living because it fulfills the basic requirements.
    I wasn't aware of that. My only excuse is that biology was never my strong suit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I wasn't aware of that. My only excuse is that biology was never my strong suit.
    I forgot years ago, but serendipity would have it that a week or so ago, was helping the teenager with Biology homework and that was the topic discussed for the assignment- what qualifies "life."
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  27. #26  
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    Neverfly brought seagypsy back to life! :O Hooray!
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    Your post has highlighted something I've not considered before. If the ability to enact reproduction is one of the markers to identify living organisms, how does Sterility and Infertility factor into our classification of living organisms? That is to say are people who are sterile and/or infertile still considered living organisms? Is it a crime to kill someone like that; i.e. rob them of their "non-life".
    Because specific individuals don't count as exemplars of the definition I'd say.
    Dogs as a species can breed.
    The fact that certain ones can't doesn't affect the overall classification.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piemaster View Post
    Neverfly brought seagypsy back to life! :O Hooray!
    how do you figure that? I still can't reproduce.

    So he is married to an undead zombie woman.

    edit:

    nevermind, i should have read the rest of the thread before responding.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Doesn't reproduce, does it? While I'm at it, what about the unfertilized egg? Just curious.
    The life of a sperm is very hazardous.

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  31. #30  
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    Ignore the Spanish subtitles, sit back and have a good laugh. This is classic Woody Allen
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  32. #31  
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    Sperm does not fit on definition of a living organism but it can be called a pre stage of life.
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Ignore the Spanish subtitles, sit back and have a good laugh. This is classic Woody Allen
    I am glad you warned us that it is Woody Allen. I cannot look at him. Or Tom Cruise for that matter. For some bizarre reason both of their faces trigger an emotional response in me not dissimilar to that of an aggressive angry baboon defending its territory against a leopard.
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  34. #33  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    We do not mourn the passing of millions of sperm. By not caring whether sperm die, are we indifferent because psychologically we don't think of sperm as alive? Why isn't PETA all over this mass killing of living things, a daily occurence. We send these creatures into hostile environments knowing full well that the odds of surviving is next to nil. Would we do this so nonchalantly if we cared for them as living creatures?
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    We do not mourn the passing of millions of sperm. By not caring whether sperm die, are we indifferent because psychologically we don't think of sperm as alive? Why isn't PETA all over this mass killing of living things, a daily occurence. We send these creatures into hostile environments knowing full well that the odds of surviving is next to nil. Would we do this so nonchalantly if we cared for them as living creatures?
    On that note, some more sperm humor.

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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJ_K View Post
    Sperm does not fit on definition of a living organism but it can be called a pre stage of life.
    Absolutely it does, just as much as our diploid part of our life cycle (the part that can type.)
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