Start of life 100m years ago

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 17 Sep 2020

Paleontologists have discovered what they believe is the world's oldest animal sperm inside a tiny crustacean caught in a blob of tree resin in Myanmar 100 million years ago.

The oldest known examples of fossilized animal sperm had been 17 million years old, according to the team led by Wang He of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Nanjing.

The sperm was in an ostracod, a crustacean that has existed for 500 million years.

The team says in a paper published in the Royal Society's Proceedings journal that the sperm was in a female, indicating she was fertilized just before being trapped in amber.

To make the find more intriguing, the sperm was described as "giants" that required "a lot of energy to produce them," study co-author Renate Matzke-Karasz of Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University said.

This type of ostracod is also a new species that the scientists have now been named Myanmarcypris hui.

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