Feeds

Boffins: Gigantic crustacean sperm is 'viable strategy'

Ostracods' jumbo jism is 10x longer than own bodies

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A crack team of international boffins has uncovered startling facts about certain species of crustaceans which produce sperm ten times as long as their own bodies. If human males produced such "giant sperm", according to the scientists, the result would be tadpole-esque horrors 17 metres long.

Renate Matzke-Karasz, of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, led a team of top spunkoarchaeologists in her search through the fossil collections of the Natural History Museum in London. She and he collaborators were especially interested in the prehistoric ancestors of certain aquatic crustaceans which reproduce using the above-mentioned unfeasibly enormous sperm. Appropriately enough these (very) spunky little fellows are known as "ostracods".

Reproduction using spermatozoans ten times as long as oneself - let alone as long as one's generative organs - is a serious business both for the male and the female of the species. As Matzke-Karasz puts it, this biological method "comes at an exceedingly high price for both genders, as a lot of energy is invested in producing and carrying such enormous sperm".

She and her fellow jumbo-jizz experts had thought that perhaps the crustacean colosso-spunk phenomenon was of recent origin, with the ostracods soon to become extinct under the crippling strain of their insanely demanding sex lives.

But it seems not. Clues were found in fossils dating back 100 million years using "synchrotron X-ray holotomography" - apparently "the most powerful and sensitive way to investigate in three dimensions and at a microscopic scale, the internal anatomy of exceptional fossils without damaging them". According to the fossil ostracod 3D internal particle-punisher photos, the old-time aqua-crustaceans perpetuated themselves using sperm every bit as enormous as the modern generation.

"It seems to be an evolutionarily successful reproduction strategy," comments Matzke-Karasz. She and her colleagues' paper, Sexual Intercourse Involving Giant Sperm in Cretaceous Ostracode, can be read (by subscribers) in today's issue of Science magazine here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.