Scientists have discovered the oldest fossilized sperm on the geological record, according to a new study published today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. And not just any old sperm: gargantuan sperm.
A team of paleontologists in Australia came across a pristinely preserved specimen of sperm from an ostracod, a kind of shrimp, in a bat cave in Queensland. The sperm, which scientists suspect was preserved in bat feces, is 17 million years old, and when unwound can reach 10 times longer than the shrimp itself.
"It's staggering," Michael Archer, a leader of the team, told The Washington Post.