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One for the ladies...



Oldest genital fossils found in Scotland
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 Posted: 9:41 AM EDT (1341 GMT)


  
The fossil remnants closely resemble modern day Harvestmen arachnids, known as
daddy long legs. 

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New Scientist   
 
LONDON (Reuters) -- Scientists have discovered fossils of the world's oldest
genitals -- belonging to a 400 million-year-old arachnid -- in ancient rocks in
Scotland. 

The penis of the ancient harvestmen insects, commonly known as a
daddy-long-legs, was two-thirds the length of the body and remarkably similar to
the modern-day species, New Scientist magazine said. 

"The discovery of the world's oldest genitals proves that little has changed
over the last 400 million years -- at least for daddy-long-legs," the magazine
said. 

Jason Dunlop and a team of researchers from Humbolt University in Berlin,
Germany, who will present their findings at a conference in Aberdeen, also
uncovered a long egg-laying organ called an ovipositor from a female. 

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New Scientist   
 
"As well as genitals, the fossils have the oldest known arachnid respiratory
system, suggesting harvestmen's ancestors had long since crawled out of the sea
and learned to breathe," the magazine said Wednesday. 

Harvestmen arachnids are sometimes mistaken for spiders but they are more
closely related to ticks or mites because they do not spin webs. 

The previous oldest penis, which dated back 100 million years and was found in
Brazil, belonged an ostracod, an early crustacean related to crabs, shrimps and
water fleas. 



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