In a small piece of amber over 100 million years old, male reproductive cells were found, belonging to the bivalve crustacean shellfish classes. More information about the find is contained in a scientific article published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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The sperm preserved in amber belonged to ostracods (shells) – their first representatives appeared on Earth about 550 million years ago. As a rule, the researchers encountered calcified ostracod shells, but the soft parts were extremely rare. In this case, paleontologists were very lucky: a cluster of about 40 of these creatures was preserved in the amber fragment. Even spermatozoa have survived, with the help of which specialists obtained important information about life on the ancient planet.
X-ray microcomputer tomography was carried out, thanks to which the smallest parts of ancient animals were examined, and the sex cells of crustaceans were carefully studied. Presumably, ostracods had very large spermatozoa, and their accumulations could occupy about 30% of their body, the scientists concluded.