World's Oldest Sperm Found In Ancient Australian Bat Cave Is A ‘Staggering’ Discovery

May 14, 2014 3:54 PM

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World's Oldest Sperm Found In Ancient Australian Bat Cave Is A ‘Staggering’ Discovery

The fossilized genetic material dates back at least 17 million years and is many times longer than the organism it came from. The oldest sperm, complete with sperm nuclei, belongs to an ancient freshwater shrimp called an ostracod, researchers announced Wednesday in a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Like their modern descendants, prehistoric ostracods were tiny, measuring only about one millimeter in length. Their sperm, however, were relatively massive and could be ten times longer than the ostracod itself.

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