Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Prehistoric fish pioneered sex

From Rueters

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - Sex has been a fact of life for at least 380 million years, longer than previously thought. Internal fertilization was widespread among prehistoric fish living on ancient tropical coral reefs in the Devonian period, research published in the journal Nature on Wednesday showed.

The discovery sheds new light on the reproductive history of all jawed vertebrates, including humans.

"It shifts how we think about how reproduction evolved. You're a jawed vertebrate and I'm a jawed vertebrate, so this is our own history," said Zerina Johanson, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London.

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