Prehistoric Sperm Found Trapped Inside 100-Million-Year-Old Amber

The find also shows how little these microcrustaceans have changed in millions of years

Remember when Dr. John Alfred Hammond — the CEO and creator of Jurassic Park — found a little mosquito in a piece of amber and then created the walking giants from prehistoric DNA? Well, that’s all I could think about when I first heard about this discovery.

The really odd thing about these little dudes is that they’re able to produce sperm that is up to ten times larger than themselves. It’s strange to try and imagine, right?

The performance is “made possible by the way it twists and tangles up into small balls.

Let’s get back to the discovery, though.The piece of amber that was found in Myanmar contains 39 individual creatures, as well as their giant sperm.

“The fact that the seminal receptacles of the female are in an expanded state due to being filled with sperm indicates that successful copulation had taken place shortly before the animals became entrapped in the amber,” the study’s authors transcribed.

With that being said, a discovery like this, which contains soft tissues preserved so well for that long – is especially rare. The find also shows that these microcrustaceans haven’t changed much at all in millions of years.

“The male clasper, sperm pumps, hemipenes and female seminal receptacles with giant sperm of fossil ostracods reveal that the reproduction behavioral repertoire, which is associated with considerable morphological adaptations, has remained unchanged over at least 100 million years.”

You can read the entire study at royalsocietypublishing.org.

Matt Sterner

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