weather icon Partly Cloudy

Blame it on the placoderms

Prior to 375 million years ago, fish reproduced through spawning, where the females deposited eggs into the water and the males fertilized them. The embryos that developed from the fertilized eggs were on their own and most ended up being eaten by other fish.

About 375 million years ago, creatures called placoderms appeared on the scene. The placoderms were very successful and ruled the planet for nearly 70 million years. One of the reasons behind their success was that they did not produce their young by spawning; they were the first animals known to fertilize the female’s eggs inside the female, where the young could grow and mature to a point where their chances of survival far exceeded those of young produced by external fertilization.

Babies produced by internal fertilization were larger and heartier.

But internal fertilization meant that males had to have some method by which to deposit the sperm in the female. This was done by means of two “claspers, flesh-covered extensions of the pelvic girdle” that were used to transfer sperm. Thus began the origins of sex among animal species on Earth.

Placoderms were also the first animals with a backbone to have jaws. Researchers have suggested that the jaw evolved to help the male grab hold of females and stabilize them during mating, only later taking on the role of food processing. As John A. Long, vice president of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles County, writes, “Sex, it seems, really did change everything.”

Internal fertilization was so successful that it became the means of reproduction of sharks, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals. Frogs and bony fish species reproduce through external fertilization.

Thus, the whole idea of prostitution among human beings may be seen as an outgrowth of a biological innovation by the placoderm more than one-third of a billion years ago.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
One person dies in head-on collision

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office and the Nevada Highway Patrol are investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Thousandaire Boulevard and Homestead Road, just before 1 p.m., on Thursday, April 2.

Little Caesars open during health crisis

Real estate professional Conrad Serrano recently took over as the new owner of Little Caesars in Pahrump.

Nye County’s financial prospects look grim

Nye County Comptroller Savannah Rucker provided the Nye County Commission with an update on its financial situation in light of the novel coronavirus and the outlook is far from rosy, with Rucker reporting that the county is already eyeing a nearly $2 million deficit in revenue versus expenses for this fiscal year.

Tiger tests positive for COVID-19 at Bronx Zoo

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Veterinary Services Laboratories confirmed the first instance of a tiger testing positive for the new coronavirus.

Three Square opening one-day drive-thru food pantry in Pahrump

A one-day drive-thru emergency food distribution site will be open Monday, April 6, in Pahrump as part of an emergency strategy Three Square Food Bank has implemented to ensure that food-insecure Southern Nevadans have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walmart limits number of shoppers in stores at once

Walmart has begun implementing policies to limit the number of customers who can be in a store at once, according to Dacona Smith, Walmart U.S. executive vice president and chief operating officer.