OLDEST SPERM TO DATE IS PRESERVED IN 100-MILLION YEAR OLD AMBER
A 100-million-year-old Myanmar amber has housed the world’s oldest-ever sample of animal sperm.
The sperms are enormously long as it is several times larger than human sperm. This sperm came from a shrimp-like crustacean that is smaller than a poppyseed.
The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
The sperm cell approximately measures 0.6 millimeters and belonged to a still-living organism under the class of microcrustacean called ostracods.
These organisms are known to house sperms that are up to ten times larger than they are.
It seems impossible but when these organisms are twisted and tangled to form a ball, they could travel through the female reproductive more easily.
The researchers used a micro-CT scan to reveal 39 of their ancient crustacean relatives that are all preserved in the same slice of amber.
What’s more astonishing is that this frozen community has the same reproductive traits that are still seen in ostracods today.
Moreover, these fossilized bodies also contained eggs, sperm pumps, and female receptacles filled with sperm.
The authors said that the expanded seminal structures of the female due to being filled with sperm indicate that there was successful copulation that happened before these animals were entrapped in the amber.