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Saturday, November 05, 2005 

Man, that's some stamina....

Fossils copulating for 65 million years

Scientists in India say they have discovered two fossils fused together in sexual union for 65 million years.

The findings were published in the October edition of the Indian journal Current Science, which said it was the first time that sexual copulation had been discovered in a fossil state, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The fossils are tiny swarm cells, a stage in the development of the fungus myxomycetes, also known as slime molds. The cells reproduce by "fusing," Ranjeet Kar of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany in Lucknow reportedly told PTI. Once the cells fuse, long, threadlike appendages known as flagella, are lost, he said. Finding the fossils in a fused position and with their flagella shed, is evidence that the two cells were having sex, Kar said.

Journal article can be viewed here for those of you who are into slime mold porn. (Oh yeah, I know you're out there. Freaks.)

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About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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