The oldest sperm in the world

We already know that amber conserves fossils very well. Thanks to this, a lot is known about extinct species millions of years ago. And it can preserve insects, dinosaurs … and sperm. 100 million years ago. The traces of pleasure, immortalized. The oldest sperm in the world.

An international scientific team found it. Sex cells have appeared in the reproductive tract of a female of a species of ostracode. It was a tiny crustacean. They analyzed the resin found in Myanmar. There was a species they had never seen before that they named Myanmar cypris hui. A tiny creature that is only about 0.59 millimeters long.

Artistic replica of how the oldest sperm in the world could have been created 100 million years ago.
An artistic replica of how the oldest sperm in the world could have been created 100 million years ago.
Reproduction in the Cretaceous Period

The adult wife of M. hui it had retained much of its soft tissue inside. Including four tiny egg cells. And a thread-like mass in the semen of the sample.

He Wang is a paleontologist and professor at the Nanjing Institute of Geology. He analyzed the sample using a CT scan. He had just rebuilt the oldest registered animal sperm. The ad was published in the trade journal Royal Society procedure B..

Gametes are unusually long. They could be bigger than the animal’s body. This fact is nothing new. Other types of ostracodes that are alive today have huge sperm. It is as if a person about 1.70 meters tall produces a 7.30 meter long sperm.

A great effort

This anomaly, as they clarify, responds to a large investment in biological resources. It takes an enormous amount of energy to produce only a few, but large, sperm cells. These creatures leave the soul. What does this difficult reproductive strategy mean in evolutionary terms? It shows that ostracods found their “optimal” mode of reproduction as early as the Cretaceous.

This is the piece of amber that the specimens and semen were found in.
This is the piece of amber that the specimens and semen were found in.

In general, the experiment shows that the use of giant sperm worked on these animals for more than 100 million years. This reproductive trait is critical to the survival of these species.

The oldest sperm in the world are exciting for researchers. The female was inseminated shortly before she was trapped in amber. This resin has a tremendous ability to preserve delicate parts of the body. In the tiny world of these creatures, size has been important for about 100 million years.

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