An international team of researchers has just announced the discovery of the world’s oldest animal sperm. The researchers found the 100-million-year-old sperm, which belong to tiny crustaceans known as ostracods, in Myanmar. The sperm are also “giant” and can grow up to nearly four times the length of their producers’ bodies.
“The results were amazing,” He Wang told
He Wang and his team identified 39 individual ancient ostracods in the amber. They published their findings in
The researchers found the giant sperm—marked “h” and “l” in the image above—inside the females’ “sac-like” seminal receptacles. The sperm measure roughly 200 microns long, which is twice the width of a single sheet of paper. And while that sperm length may seem minuscule, it’s relatively enormous, as that’s one third of an ostracod’s body length.
“The interesting part of our story is that we can now show that using giant sperm for reproduction is something that can last [a long time] in Earth’s history,” Renate Matzke-Karasz told
Obviously that is not the case for ostracods, which are still going strong with their giant sperm to this day. The below from
What do you think about these 100-million-year-old giant sperm? And what do you think researchers will discover stuck in amber in the future? Perhaps some kind of mosquito… ? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!