A team led by Australian palaeontologist, Dr John Long, have discovered one of the oldest reproductive organs to date, potentially shedding light on the sexual evolution of vertebrate organisms. Belonging to a 400 million-year-old Devonian armoured placoderm from the Gogo region of Western Australia, this long bone clasper with a knobbly end was attached to the pelvic organ and used to grip inside the female mate to assist with fertilisation.
According to study author and palaeontologist, Dr Kate Trinajstic, “It penetrates the female, and acts like a funnel, allowing the transfer of sperm.” Originally passed off in 2001 as just part of the pelvic girdle, Trinajstic reports that closer inspection revealed its true function, “We were surprised because it’s so big. We were expecting something smaller.”
The discovery, which will be published in the upcoming edition of Nature, follows on from the previous report by the Museum Victoria team revealing the first evidence for internal fertilisation with the discovery of a 380 million-year-old pregnant female placoderm fossil.
Now you might think this is all pretty awesome, Placoderm, being one of the first vertebrates to have a (surprisingly large) working penis, because it kind of means that all the ladies will have no choice but to sleep with you until the rest of the vertebrates hurry up and evolve. But I bet real soon you’re going to get pretty sick of being known as the only whore in town. Like sometimes you’re just going to want to go out for ice cream with some Coccosteus you might have accidentally had sex with this one time when you were both really drunk, but she’ll fully get the wrong idea and turn up to the gelato stand wearing her best clingy scales, and you’re like, “Well shit, I kind of just wanted to get ice cream and talk about the stock market with you, but we’re going to have to have sex after this aren’t we?”
And then you’ll get a text from some Rolfosteus being all, “Hey, what’s up? Haven’t seen you in ages!” and you’re like, “Yeah I’ve been busy. Work and whatever. How’s your weekend looking?” and she’ll be like, “Not bad, what are you doing Friday night?” And then you’ll accidentally invite her for drinks at the Sand Bar because you were going there anyway and you’d feel kind of rude if you didn’t, but then she turns up and you’re like, “Where are all your friends? Did you think this was a date? Oh…” And you’ll fully have to avoid her the whole time and tell your friends that you kind of hooked up with her like two years ago and you think she might still like you and it’s all really awkward. But of course your friends will think it’s totally hilarious and do their best to make things even more awkward for you by always going to the bathroom or the bar en masse, so you’ll end up doing a heap of shots and accidentally go home with some Pseudopetalichthys you just met instead.
Bet you miss the old days when it was all uncomplicated external fertilisation, now don’t you, Placoderm?