Sperm have a solid sense of smell, the seasonal migrations of human body fat and the funniest joke in the land.

“New & Notable” will henceforth be known as “I Can’t Believe It’s Science.” Long live, I Can’t Believe It’s Science.

Scent of a Woman
A new study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry shows that sperm have a sense of smell. Further, it’s so sophisticated that even an ovarian scent that’s diluted 100,000 times will cause the little gametes to turn tail and swim in its direction. The study’s authors note that sperm have olfactory receptor proteins—much like those in our noses—which reside over their outer membranes. The researchers used mouse sperm for their study, but they are confident their results apply to man-sperm as well. Apparently, sperm does not hold much of a species bias, as sperm from one mammal will respond to ovarian chemicals from another.
(source: Discovery News)

Polar Disorder
Now that global warming has made food less available, polar bears live in a cold, hard, bear-eat-bear world.  Long, iceless seasons mean the polar bears can’t get to seals—their usual fare—so for the first time, scientists have observed polar bears stalking, killing and eating each other. There has even been one recorded incident of a polar bear killing a mother in her den shortly after she gave birth. Environmentalists argue that global climate change will cause polar bears to go extinct within the next hundred years. If they have to resort to eating one another, the prediction doesn’t sound so far-fetched at all.
(source: Associated Press)

Hold the Screaming Orgasm
Norwegians like their nights long, their herring pickled and their sex sober. According to a survey of 1736 people by Arcus, the only wine distiller in Norway, 52% of Norwegian men and 59% of Norwegian women think sex is better without social lubricant. However, 27% of men and 20% of women responded that it’s preferable to have a few glasses of wine before doing the deed. This study is the first step in Arcus’s grand plan to find out exactly when and how Norway wants its booze.
(source: Aftenposten) Thanks to Seed‘s Deputy Art Director Adam Billyeald for his translation assistance.

Fall Flat
In autumn, the leaves fall, the temperatures fall and our sexy spring figures fall. According to a study accepted for publication by the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, the location of our body fat changes along with the seasons. As testosterone levels start to rise in the summer, women gain fat around their waists, giving them a higher waist-to-hip ratio. Men experience the opposite effect, losing weight from their midsection as autumn approaches. Neither of the fall fashions looks particularly good: The literature shows that the curvaceous look of a low waist-to-hip ratio uniformly appeals to men, and chicks dig the more uniform, manlier physique on men.
(source: Discovery News)

The Aristocrats!
Richard Wiseman has discovered the world’s funniest joke—and God no, it’s not “The Aristocrats.” Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire, got 300,000 people from around the world to vote online for the funniest yarn, and the winning joke has been traced to comedian Spike Milligan. All right, kids, here it is:

Two hunters are out in the woods in New Jersey when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps ‘My friend is dead! What can I do?’ The operator says: ‘Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.’ There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says ‘OK, now what?’

If you didn’t laugh, you don’t belong to this world.
(source: the Telegraph)

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth
Much like fellow royal Catherine the Great (story unconfirmed), an ant queen can die if she goes a little overboard with her sex life. An ant queen loses her virginity in a gang-bang so hardcore that the males she mates with all die of exhaustion after the bacchanal. This is the only time the queen has sex in her life, and she uses the stored up sperm to fertilize millions of eggs. Recent research found that the queen doesn’t fill up to capacity with sperm, and the scientists believe this is for health reasons.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that if a queen accumulates too much semen, she puts herself at risk of death by disease. The researchers hypothesize that the ant can put so much energy into keeping the precious sperm alive that she could compromise her own immune system.

Still, it’s good to be the queen.
(source: University of Copenhagen)

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Originally published June 20, 2006

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