Old fish wuz bangin’

Pax Arcana

fishNew studies into old fossils have revealed that the physical act of sex — known in academic cirlces as “delivering the dissertation” — is at least 30 million years older than once believed (hat tip to Jaelynne).

Researchers came to the conclusion* after carbon-dating Larry King’s boyhood underpants. Whooooo check it out a Larry King is old joke those never get tired!!!

Anyway, scientists studying the 380 million-year-old armored placoderm fish, or Incisoscutum richiei, discovered two female fossils that were pregnant — in that they were carrying already-fertilized eggs inside their bodies. Scientists had previously believed that all eggs were fertilized outside the body at the time:

“Once we found embryos in this group, we knew they had internal fertilization. But how the hell are they doing it?**” said John Long, the head of sciences at the Museum Victoria in Melbourne who wrote a paper on the discovery that appeared in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.

The answer came when the scientists re-examined the pelvis of the male placoderm, armed with the new information about fertilization. After looking at specimens at the Natural History Museum in London and the Museum Victoria, they realized the pelvis had a fin not seen on the female fish, and surmised it was likely used to grip its mate during fertilization, much as sharks do.

I’ve often thought that only thing missing from the human sex life was an extra hand***. Anyway, continue, doctor:

“These fish have an extra large bone that attaches to the pelvic bone,” he said. “It had been overlooked and hadn’t been identified. So in a nutshell****, we have reinterpreted the structure of the pelvic bone in these placoderms to show they had a method for copulation.”

Zerina Johanson, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum who also took part in the study along with the University of Western Australia’s Kate Trinajstic, said findings of internal fertilization showed that “sex started a lot sooner than we thought.”


Study of fossils shows prehistoric fish had sex [Yahoo!]

* That’s what she said
** That’s what she said
*** That’s what she said
**** That’s what she said


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