Thursday, May 15, 2014

World's oldest sperm uncovered in Queensland cave

We like old stuff here at The Westerner and this certainly is old.  Besides, you really have to admire those shrimp.

The oldest sperm sample in the world has been uncovered from a tiny fossilised shrimp in a Queensland cave. A seed shrimp estimated to be around 17 million years old was uncovered by a team from the University of New South Wales in an ancient cave deposit in the Riversleigh world heritage fossil site and dates from the Miocene epoch. The remarkable finding has drawn even further interest because the samples tested were almost as large as the shrimp themselves. The team studied 66 fossils using X-ray topography and found that the shrimp – which measure just 1.26mm – had sperm that were almost their own length or longer, measuring between 1.2 and 1.3mm.  Study researcher Renate Matzke-Karasz, a geobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilian-University, said the most astounding part of the study is that it “strongly suggests that the mode of reproduction in these tiny crustaceans has remained virtually unchanged to this day”...more

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