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(Sperm) Size Matters

Size may not matter in the human world, but when it comes to other animals and insects, giant sperm is the way to go, especially if the creature has a tiny body. A mussel-like animal that lived 100 million years ago produced sperm that was longer than its body. Even today, there are animals making large sperm. A fruit fly can produce a 2.5-inch coil of sperm, even though its body is only a few milliliters. To equal the same sperm to body ratio, a human would have to produce sperm 40 meters long. Ostracodes, an extinct ancient class of arthropods, also produced long sperm. With these findings scientists have concluded that giant sperm production is a proven, evolutionary tactic for successful reproduction. Creatures can increase the chance of fertilization with a larger sperm cell. [Reuters]

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