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Dancing chicken sperm take the prize in 'Dance Your Ph.D.' contest

Image: Sperm dance
Speedo-wearing dancers portraying chicken sperm cells get ready to figuratively fertilize an egg in the top video from this year'sCedric Tan via Vimeo

Guys in Speedos portraying chicken sperm: That's a winning combination for the "Dance Your Ph.D." contest, which celebrates efforts to turn doctoral thesis topics into interpretive dance.

This year's top prize goes to University of Oxford biologist Cedrick Tan, for a series of dances based on his study of "Sperm Competition Between Brothers and Female Choice." The dance video has to be seen to be believed (and understood).

The annual competition is sponsored by the journal Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. John Bohannon, a contributing correspondent at Science, presides over the proceedings. The final judging is done by a panel of scientists and artists.

Thirty-one videos were submitted to the sixth annual dance-off, leading Bohannon to rate 2013 "the best year yet." Tan was tops in the Biology category and also won the overall prize, which earned him $1,000 plus a trip to screen his video at Stanford University.

The other prize-winners included:

Congrats to Bohannon and the winners. Check out the five top videos:

More about the science of dance:

Alan Boyle is's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.