Brainy Sperm at Work

HEALTH/SEX - Watch out! Smart, well-endowed sperm are out there and they're looking to reproduce!

Rosalind Arden of King's College, London, and her colleagues have published a new study in the science journal Intelligence which concludes that brainy people (and their sperm) are intrinsically healthier and that intelligence is sexy.

The study is actually about the quality of men's sperm, and the correlation between intelligence, genetics and health. By intelligence they used quotient of linguistic facility, spatial awareness and several other factors measured by psychologists using a value called Spearman's "g".

G whiz.

Arden and team have discovered that an individual's g value is correlated with many aspects of his health, life-span, overall fitness.

There are two possible explanations:

1. Intelligent people make healthier choices.

2. Genetically healthy people become more intelligent.

We already know intelligence is often a deciding factor when choosing a mate, and that over millions of years mankind has evolved due to choosing mates that were healthier/smarter. Geoffrey Miller of the University of New Mexico, who is one of Arden's co-authors, believes this process of sexual selection is the reason people have become so brainy.

Arden sought to test this idea in a way that excluded intelligent choice and got directly at any physiological correlations between intelligence and health. She chose sperm quality because it is both easily measured and about as far from intelligent choice as it is possible to imagine.

The relevant data had already been collected from former American soldiers enrolled in what was known as the Vietnam Experience Study. In 1985, almost 4,500 of these veterans volunteered for extensive medical and mental examinations. Some of them gave semen samples that were analyzed for three types of sperm quality: the number of sperm per cubic centimetre, the total number of sperm in the ejaculate and sperm motility.

Arden found 425 cases suitable for testing her hypothesis, namely donors with high intelligence g values, and correlated them with all three measures of their sperm quality and thus determined that intelligent men have healthier sperm.

Thus in the Darwinian sense of fitness these men have the ability to survive (through a combination of intelligence and overall fitness), to attract mates and to produce offspring.

It is an important finding, according to Arden. Up til now, biologists looked at "fitness" as a series of adaptations that are more or less independent of each other. Arden's work adds to the idea of a general fitness factor, f, that is similar in concept to g. Now we know that intelligence and fitness can go hand in hand.

So why then are jocks so dumb and nerds so weak? You see there's a false assumption there, that strength equals health/fitness. Athletes frequently have health problems because they put their bodies under a lot of stress, so they're not really healthier or smarter.

Evidently more needs to be studied on this topic and studying healthy sperm from intelligent men is only the tip of the iceberg penis...

Begging the question, does this mean men really do think with their dicks? No seriously, if we're so gung ho about reproducing and healthy sperm/brains does co-exist, maybe there is a bit of truth to it.


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