Sex, the Early Years

Sex is an ancient tradition. It’s older than today’s continents, older than dinosaurs, older than trees, dating back to a time when vertebrate life thrived in the seas but had not yet ventured onto land. Back then, over 435 million years ago, armored fish were among the first to try this new mode of perpetuating life.

Finding prehistoric creatures caught in the act is an exceptionally rare occurrence. For vertebrates, copulating turtles and courting sharks were among the very few ancient animals that died at a most inopportune moment. Fortunately, we don’t need such intimate associations to track the beginnings of sex. Ancient anatomy tells the tale.

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