Honestly, media. *polishes obnoxious academic spectacles* Is it really that difficult to comprehend the difference between "inseminate" and "impregnate"?

On Thursday I reported that a woman's mouth had been inseminated by a squid she was eating. To be specific, squid spermatophores (packages of sperm) implanted themselves into her mucus membranes, and had to be removed by a doctor.

Several sources have now erroneously reported that a woman was impregnated by a squid she was eating, and found baby squid in her mouth. Truth is strange--but this is fiction. "Impregnate" (in reproduction, not manufacturing) means that successful fertilization has already taken place: sperm met with egg and an embryo is developing. That did not happen. There was no impregnation, no pregnancy, and no baby squid.

Just a little review of human reproduction: females keep eggs in ovaries, and once a menstrual cycle an egg migrates down a fallopian tube into the uterus. When this happens, if the female is inseminated, and if the sperm happens to meet the egg, then she can be impregnated (become pregnant). 

All this happens very, very far away from the mouth.

And even if you tried to mix human eggs with squid sperm (or human sperm with squid eggs), I can promise that no embryo would come of it. The gametes are so different as to be totally incompatible.

So: nobody ever got pregnant from eating squid, or from any other contact with squid, and furthermore, it is not possible to become pregnant from eating squid, or from any other contact with squid.

These are squid spermatophores, like those that jabbed themselves into the diner's mouth:

These are squid babies, which were nowhere near the scene of the crime:

Up next: awesome research from José Eduardo Marian, a huge spermatophore nerd (yes, even more than me). He actually got to study some of the spermatophores from the medical case study, and discovered some clues about how they work!