Scientists discover the awkward origins of sex

October 20, 2014 11:31 AM

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Picture a frigid Scottish loch. Now inside this loch picture two gyrating armored prehistoric fish which would later be called M. Dicki. The fish, the most primitive jawed vertebrates, would never win any beauty contests. But in the amorous world of the aptly-but-coincidentally named M. Dicki, love was blind. Which was probably a good thing.

The planet’s first act of sex 385 million years ago, as documented in fresh research published in Nature, wasn’t a gentle affair. It involved what paleontologist John Long described in an interview as “a bone with a strange groove on it,” “plates that helped locked the male organ into place like Vel...

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