Sexual Intercourse Involving Giant Sperm in Cretaceous Ostracode

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Science  19 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5934, pp. 1535
DOI: 10.1126/science.1173898

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Reproduction with giant sperm occurs in distinct groups scattered over the animal kingdom. Although experiments in Drosophila assessed the influence of different selection pressures on this character, no information was available on its long-term stability. Sub-micrometer-resolution synchrotron quantitative phase tomography (holotomography) of exceptionally well-preserved three-dimensional Cretaceous ostracode fossils from the Brazilian Santana Formation indicates that ostracode reproduction with giant sperm persisted for at least over the past 100 million years. Remnants of the male sperm pumps as well as giant, inflated female sperm receptacles evidence that, despite high costs, reproduction with giant sperm can be an evolutionary successful strategy.

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