50-million-year-old sperm sample was found in a worm cocoon in Antartica.
Based on the findings of a study that has been recently published in the journal of Biology Letters, the oldest traces of sperm belong to a crayfish-like worm. The incidental finding has enabled scientists to estimate that the owner of the sperm sample most likely lived 50 million years ago.
Scientists may have disclosed the answer to one of the most intriguing questions, even though very few scientists would actually admit they have indeed had this curiosity, namely, to date the oldest traces of sperm. Luckily, a recent study conducted by Thomas Mörs indicates that the oldest sample of sperm on Earth was produced approximately 50 million years ago.
The sperm belongs to a worm that is very similar in size and behavior to the crayfish worm. Studies suggest that the cocoon worm may have lived around 50 million years ago. Yet, the sample has been very well preserved, even though sperms have very short lives and their cellular structures are incredibly soft.
According to researchers, fossilized sperm samples are very hard to find, which is why the recent finding has been much praised among the science community. He has further mentioned one of the previous studies that has been conducted on a similar sample specifying that the respective sperm was estimated to be 400 million years old.
Scientists have further explained that the form and the outer shape of the sperm have been perfectly preserved. Further studies will be carried out in order to determine whether the internal structure of the sperm has been just as well preserved. Investigators plan to focus on the anatomical composition of the sperm and for that, they will use x-ray analyses.
The sperm sample was accidentally discovered by scientists as they were effecting other researches in the Antarctic region. They have, later on, specified that the sperm fossil was located in an annelid cocoon, which became rock solid after just a few days.
While this hypothesis has not yet been verified, scientists believe that the resistant and durable shape of the cocoon has enabled the long-lasting preservation of the sperm. Future studies will also be conducted on cocoons in Antarctica to see whether other similar micro-organisms may be found therein.
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