Feeds

Boffins: Gigantic crustacean sperm is 'viable strategy'

Ostracods' jumbo jism is 10x longer than own bodies

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.