PbysOrg looks back into the distant past, when tiny shrimp left behind sperm longer than their bodies:
The giant sperm are thought to have been longer than the male’s entire body, but are tightly coiled up inside the sexual organs of the fossilised freshwater crustaceans, which are known as ostracods.
“These are the oldest fossilised sperm ever found in the geological record,” says Professor Mike Archer, of the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who has been excavating at Riversleigh for more than 35 years.
“The Riversleigh fossil deposits in remote northwestern Queensland have been the site of the discovery of many extraordinary prehistoric Australian animals, such as giant, toothed platypuses and flesh-eating kangaroos. So we have become used to delightfully unexpected surprises in what turns up there.
“But the discovery of fossil sperm, complete with sperm nuclei, was totally unexpected. It now makes us wonder what other types of extraordinary preservation await discovery in these deposits.”