Dawning of the Deed
Here’s a good question: “How old is sex?” You know, the old birds and the bees-type hooking up. Recently, some fossil finds have given us great clues as to the age of intercourse, the conception of copulation, the dawning of the dirty deed.
You might have trouble even imagining your parents or grandparents having sex, but intercourse is at least 375 million years old. That’s quite a tradition to carry on and we should do it proudly.
See, before sex there was “spawning,” characterized by an utter lack of intimacy. Despite this, it is still pretty popular today, occurring in well over 90% of fish. Basically, female fish lay eggs into the water and the males then deposit sperm into the water to fertilize them. The embryos that develop are on their own and out in the open. With intercourse came fertilization of eggs within the female body, removing risk to embryos associated with all of those nasty creatures found in pond water.
Until recently, it was believed that sharks (yes sharks) were the first species to have sex and give birth to live offspring. Funny, it’s hard to imagine sharks as particularly romantic, but as they say, you can’t always judge critters by how big their teeth are. I just met a walrus with 2-foot tusks who is the nicest guy you ever met.
What changed all this was a small fish fossil that was found in a piece of limestone on a cattle ranch in Western Australia. About the size of a mackerel, this female fossil contained an embryo within it, along with a petrified umbilical cord. Proof positive: Internal fertilization in backboned animal before sharks, 375 million years ago.
So, if you think the sexual revolution happened in the 70’s or is happening today, you’re wrong. The real revolution in sex occurred during the Devonian period, way before you were a twinkle in anyone’s eye.