World's oldest sperm discovered in Antarctica -50 million years after its preservation
- Scientists from Sweden have found a fossilised cocoon in
Antarctica containing the world's oldest sperm.
- The discovery of the fossilised sperm found inside the walls
of a 50 million-year-old worm cocoon has been branded "remarkable" by
- The specimen is the oldest animal sperm ever found.
- The researchers were surprised that when they looked inside
the walls of the cocoon to examine its structure, they found fragments of the
- The clitellate worm's sperm is very short lived and
therefore rare to find but was able to remain preserved for so long because it
became trapped in the jelly-like cocoon before it hardened.
- Using radiometric dating, the scientists found that the
sperm dates back to the early Eocene Era.
- The sample was spectacularly well preserved, but did not
contain any organic material or DNA.
- The finding beats the previous record by 10 million years.