50 million year old sperm cells found in fossilized cocoon

first_img Researchers find fossilized ciliate in 200 million year old leech cocoon (Phys.org)—A small team of researchers with members from institutions in Sweden, Argentina and Italy, has discovered fossilized sperm cells embedded in the walls of an ancient cocoon. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes how they came across the sperm fossils while studying a 50 million year old cocoon found on Seymour Island in Antarctica. © 2015 Phys.org Explore further Diagram illustrating the inferred mode of fossilization of microorganisms in clitellate cocoons, exemplified by a common medicinal leech (reproductive stages modified from Sims). (a) Two leeches mate; (b) a cocoon is secreted from the clitellum; (c) eggs and sperm are released into the cocoon before the animal retracts and eventually deposits the sealed cocoon on a suitable substrate (d). Insets depict enlargements of the inner cocoon-wall surface showing how spermatozoa and microbes become encased in the solidifying inner cocoon wall. Credit: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0431 More information: Fossilized spermatozoa preserved in a 50-Myr-old annelid cocoon from Antarctica, Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0431AbstractThe origin and evolution of clitellate annelids—earthworms, leeches and their relatives—is poorly understood, partly because body fossils of these delicate organisms are exceedingly rare. The distinctive egg cases (cocoons) of Clitellata, however, are relatively common in the fossil record, although their potential for phylogenetic studies has remained largely unexplored. Here, we report the remarkable discovery of fossilized spermatozoa preserved within the secreted wall layers of a 50-Myr-old clitellate cocoon from Antarctica, representing the oldest fossil animal sperm yet known. Sperm characters are highly informative for the classification of extant Annelida. The Antarctic fossil spermatozoa have several features that point to affinities with the peculiar, leech-like ‘crayfish worms’ (Branchiobdellida). We anticipate that systematic surveys of cocoon fossils coupled with advances in non-destructive analytical methods may open a new window into the evolution of minute, soft-bodied life forms that are otherwise only rarely observed in the fossil record.center_img Journal information: Biology Letters This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: 50 million year old sperm cells found in fossilized cocoon (2015, July 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-07-million-year-sperm-cells-fossilized.html It is very rare to find fossilized examples of sperm cells because they are soft-bodied—they have no bones. Prior examples have mostly been found in amber. The fossils found by the researchers in this new effort were discovered by accident—the researchers were merely studying the intricacies of a fossilized worm, or leech (of the class Clitellata) cocoon they had found on the island to learn more about the creature that left it behind. In making their cocoon, the ancient worm would have applied jelly-like material to the walls, which would remain in that state for just a couple of days—sperm would have been deposited inside as a means of fertilization, and in a few cases become embedded in the cocoon wall, where it then became fossilized after the walls hardened.The fossilized sperm cells are tiny of course, just 60 micrometers long and resemble those of modern crayfish worms, the team reports, which is odd, because modern crayfish worms live only in the northern hemisphere. They have elongated head areas, a central region that holds the nucleus and extremely long tails. Dating has placed the age of the cocoon and its contents at 50 million years, which means the discovery is the oldest sperm cells ever found, by a margin of 10 million years.After hearing reports of nematodes being trapped in some other ancient cocoons, the team was encouraged to look closer at the specimen they had found—they used an electron scanning microscope to examine the walls of the cocoon and found multiple sperm cells, though the team notes, the fossils are not actual cells—there is no organic material there—instead they are impressions left by the cells which long ago deteriorated. To gain a better perspective of their find, they created 3D models. They also note that it is likely other such specimens exist in already found cocoons but have not yet been discovered because researchers have not looked close enough.last_img read more

Delhis date with Eve Ensler

first_imgStatistics say that one out of every three females in the world has faced some form of violence against her simply because she is a woman. But Delhiites need not know about statistics. Ask any woman around you and she will tell you of the harassment she faces day in and day out — if not at home then definitely once she steps out. While the Capital is protesting the recent gangrape and passing away of a braveheart, the fact remains that 16 rapes have happened since that fateful 16 December night. And in most cases, the rapists have been known to the victims — neighbours, uncles, cousins and even friends. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The fact remains that a woman is not safe. More so in the national capital. And therefore, there could not have been a more fitting stage for Eve Ensler — leading feminist and playwright — to launch her campaign 1 Billion Rising on 14 January. The movement, according to a statement from Poor-Box Productions (of which Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal and Ensler are a part) and Make-A-Difference Foundation, is to ‘re-energise and refocus resources and attention on the scourge of violence against women’. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with Netflix‘We at Poor-box Productions, who have had a long-standing relationship with Ensler and her work, will be working towards making 1 Billion Rising in India a huge success,’ it further states. Ensler will be coming to India in January to partner with Poor-Box Productions and others to energise and activate people towards this new movement and the objective will be to channelise the energy to end violence against women and girls. There will be a series of educational, informative and fund-raising events as part of the visit. The organisation also plans to rope in people from various strata of the society — from NGOs and corporate leaders to politicians, students, the media, lawyers and the civil society. The organisation also plans to raise funds for SNEHA (a shelter catering to survivors of violence in Dharavi in Mumbai) and give awards to some individual survivors of and warriors of violence against females.And this is not all. The Capital will once again get a chance to witness another performance of Ensler’s famous The Vagina Monologues (the Hindi version of the act  took place a couple of months back). The Vagina Monologues encourages women to be comfortable with their body and take away the stigma that women attach with the vagina.This time, it will be a celebration of 10 years of The Vagina Monologues in India. The play was brought here by Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal and Kaizaad Kotwal as a way of using art to start a dialogue about ending violence against women and girls.The play brings along stories of various women and their brushes with sexual harassment. Kotwal and her team — Dolly Thakore, Dilnaz Irani, Rasika Duggal, Varshaa Agnihotri — Indianise the stories so that the audience can identify. So in place are the accents that are so common to various regions of the country.While getting the audience in splits, the play also manages to engage the audience and get the message across. They bring together experiences of girls and women of all ages. There are stories of a Maharashtrian woman who met a man who ‘loved to look at her’ to a Parsi woman who hasn’t been ‘down there since 1944’.  It is enlightening but not preachy. We would still recommend it to both men and women. It is therefore high time we leave the Victorian morality behind and be at ease with our bodies.DETAILAt: Blue Frog, One Style Mile, Mehrauli When: 8 January, 9 pm Phone:  30800300  Entry: Rs 1,000last_img read more

Step on the pedal eat up

first_imgThey call it the cafe for bikers. The perfect place to be when you want to take a break from a long drive and tuck in some good food. But well, if you aren’t a biker and all that you have ever done is perch precariously behind someone’s bike – Biker’s Cafe could still be the place for you.Nestled in the B8 market at Vasant Kunj, the cosy cafe is quite a welcome break away from the general buzz of the malls in that area. A little constrained in the number of people they can host inside, the cafe offers a cool set-up outside under big umbrellas. Enjoy the weather and tuck in – not the best option in summer. But the place is going to be a clear hit in winter.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Eye-catching decor inside the cafe – parts of the Royal Enfield adorn the walls and gives it a wonderful laid back feel. Just the place to relax after a long day. Extremely reasonably priced food greeted us much to our surprise. In a posh locality, while the cafe should probably be making most of it since there aren’t others around to compete – Biker’s offers a meal for two in about Rs 500. Impressive!Starters were quite a filler as we got a taste of almost everything – dumplings, spring rolls and some really juicy chicken wings. The mushroom brushchetta get’s our thumbs up. When it comes to main courses – the chicken steak is a must try. The meat is wonderfully cooked and the mashed potatoes are perfect. They have an awesome ginger ale too. But the fire and loaded ice ball was the perfect end. A crust made of corn, museli and egg white covers a ball of ice cream served in a little bed of chocolate sauce in a martini glass. Approved. Head over. You won’t regret it!last_img read more

For the love of books

first_imgDelhi is all set to drift into the magical world of written and spoken words through its very own literature festival for the second time. The 2nd Delhi Literature Festival 2014 being organised on 7, 8 and 9 February at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.M Veerappa Moily, Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Environment and Forests and a well acclaimed writer himself will inaugurate the festival that will showcase a vibrant panel of discussions, readings, workshops, talks, presentations, book launches and much more. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’This year Delhi Literature Festival will pay a special tribute to Rajendra Yadav, one of the most well-known and reputed writers of Hindi Language. He was most known for pioneering the Nayi Kahani Movement in Hindi Literature. Namvar Singh, a close associate of Rajendra Yadav along with Ajit Kr. Chaudhary and Dr Nirmala Jain will share their personal experiences with the veteran writer who no longer lives between us.With a tinge of international flavor, the festival will witness the presence of Brazilian Author Bernardo Carvalho throwing light on Brazilian Contemporary Literature. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe festival will also hold a special exhibition of the works of the Iranian illustrators, graphic artists and calligraphy artists.There will also be a session on Saturday that will look into the world of Persian Publishing, its history and form.Focusing on three major elements – illumination (illustrations), decoration (graphics) and calligraphy (art of writing), these Iranian Artists will throw light on the ‘Art of Book Making’.Keeping with the tradition of promoting independent writers and publishers, DLF’14 will see a dramatic reading by Rehaan Engineer, of yet to be published novel, Mutilator written by Prajna Desai, an art critic and writer. The festival will also hear the tale of the successful literary entrepreneurs as they share their journey with the young aspirants.Other eminent speakers include Mushirul Hasan, Rakhshanda Jalil, Rosalyn D’Mello, Samit Basu, Abhimanyu Sisodia and many more.Saturday will also see a Cultural Performance by Mrigya, a Delhi-based fusion music band.  Their music reaches out to a variety of cultures and nationalities for its uniqueness in fusing the Blues, Funk, Folk, Latin, Rock and Jazz with Indian Classical.WHEN: 7-9 FebWHERE: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Artslast_img read more

Poetry in clay

first_imgCeramic, unlike painting is poetic, while sculpture is more logical and scientific and as eminent artist Pablo Picasso said, sculpture is the art of the intelligence. Earth Echoes, a conglomerate of artistes, is organizing a four-day exhibition from January 6 to 9 at the Open Palm Court, India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road in the Capital where artistes will display creative works in clay. These artistes include Srirupa Sen, Sarika Malik, and Sneh Sharma. Arpita Bansal, Sandeep Marwah and Aruna Vasudev will be the Guests of Honour who will inaugurate the exhibition on January 6. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Sarika Malik says, “Getting into ceramics was an overwhelming feeling to find a medium which provides a three-dimensional canvas to my thoughts.” She has been in this profession for the last 8 years and when she looks back at her journey into world of clay, she feels overwhelmed. She has always been designing – from trousseau to calligraphy and lots more stuff like getting herself into ceramics which gives a three-dimensional touch to her thoughts. She puts her imagination to power into clay and produces tremendous art works. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHer current work includes The Ganesha and Serenity series. The Ganesha series is the expression of the eternal form of Ganesha and its essence, in a more abstract nature. The Serenity series is meditative and predominantly expresses her love for the abstract form and the balance and harmony that exists within it.It feels so fresh and pure when an experienced teacher adopts art as her child. Srirupa Sen is a teacher who has turned into innovative art. After teaching chemistry to University students for 25 years, she took voluntary retirement because of her love for art. After getting into ceramics, she got to know where she wanted to sink her hands, heart and soul. An artistic hobby turned into an obsession and this passion has not abated even after eight years. “The feel of moist clay whirling on the potter’s wheel and the vision of an indiscriminate lump of earth being transformed by my hands into an object of my imagination is a feeling which belies description”, says Srirupa Sen. Sneh Sharma from Delhi stepped into clay art work in 2009 at the Delhi Blue Pottery Studio. Clay is a mode of expression but for her it is like creating a piece of art by using different techniques. The love for Ceramics and sense of art grows bigger day by day, Sneh Sharmasays, adding, “I believe that every handmade work exudes spiritual beauty which significantly impacts the soul”.Where: Open Palm Court, India Habitat CenterWhen : January 6-9last_img read more

Meter boxes of highrise catch fire at Rashbehari

first_imgKolkata: A fire broke out inside the ground floor of a highrise at Rashbehari Avenue on Sunday morning.The fire initially broke out at the places where meter boxes were installed on the ground floor of the five-storeyed building.Panic broke out as there were sounds of explosion and the flames threatened to spread fast. Locals reported the matter to the police and the Fire and Emergency Services department. Two fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames. As meter boxes caught fire, locals could not initiate the work to douse the flames. Fire fighters reached the spot and initiated the work. The fire damaged a car that was parked nearby.There was panic in the area as many elderly people reside in the highrise. At the same time, there was a storeroom packed with cooking gas cylinders. Hence, the fire fighters ensured that the flames do not spread to the store room.Police had cordoned off the area and helped the fire fighters to carry out their work.last_img

Ashoke Sarkar files complaint against BJP RSS leaders

first_imgKolkata: Former BJP state committee member Ashoke Sarkar has filed a complaint at Bidhannagar East police station against senior BJP and RSS leaders in the state, alleging nepotism and financial corruption over allocation of LPG distribution agency.Sarkar, who did not name any particular leader in his complaint, said: “Dilip Ghosh being the state president of BJP, must be aware of such impropriety associated with allotment of LPG agencies in the state.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHe alleged that in recommending names of people, the BJP leadership has been collecting money from across the state.”The final list of 235 individuals being sent to a senior RSS leader for approval strangely contains a 17 digit numeric code of different oil companies, suggesting that there has been serious breach of secrecy and leak in exclusive government information that may have benefitted BJP and RSS leaders in Bengal in some way or the other. The list has been submitted to the police for necessary action,” Sarkar said.He urged the police to carry a thorough probe over the serious matter and punish the offenders as per law.According to a sources, allegations of financial corruption associated with LPG connection against BJP leaders have come up from Murshidabad and Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas and would go up to the tune of a few crores.last_img read more

Couple arrested for stealing ornaments from teachers house

first_imgKolkata: A couple has been arrested by Regent Park police station for allegedly stealing gold ornaments from a house. Police later recovered the stolen ornaments.Sources informed that Kamal Kumar Sinha, a resident of Anandapally at Regent Park, is a retired school teacher. One Amit Majumdar, who is a former student of Sinha, used to visit his residence very often. Majumdar had a relationship with one Archana Mullik, who stays near his residence in Behala. Recently, Mullik had asked Majumdar to buy her some gold ornaments. As Majumdar’s earning is not sufficient enough, he could not afford to buy gold ornaments for her. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThus, he had the idea of stealing from Sinha’s house Being close to Sinha family, he knew the whereabouts. During Kali Puja, he visited the Sinha family consecutively for 3-4 days. After a few days of Majumdar’s visit, the family members found some gold ornaments were missing on November 14. On November 16, Sinha lodged a complaint with Regent Park police station. While probing the case, the sleuths identified persons who visited the Sinha family during the festive season and started interrogating them. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedWhen Majumdar was interrogated, the investigating officers smelled a rat in his version. After the sleuths put pressure, he surrendered and admitted to have committed the theft. He was arrested on Saturday. On Sunday, police arrested Mullik and recovered the stolen ornaments from her house. In another incident, a woman identified as Shila Mahato was arrested by Jadavpur police station for allegedly stealing gold ornaments from one aged lady indentified as Sobha Banerjee. She lives in South City Housing Complex. Mahato used to work at Banerjee’s flat as a domestic help. On November 9, she stole Rs 70,000 and some gold ornaments. Police have recovered the stolen gold ornaments and cash worth Rs 25,000 from Mahato’s possession.last_img read more

Bengals first staterun pet crècheclinic opens doors for canines of Kolkata

first_imgKolkata: The first state-run clinic-cum-crèche for pet dogs was inaugurated in New Town on Friday. Expert caregivers will look after the canines at the pet care facility, which has been developed by New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA).A dog show was organised at the inauguration of the crèche, which was attended by many dog lovers. There are many large breed dogs such as Grate Dane, Tibetan Mastiff, English and French Mastiff, Labrador, Golden Retriever and German Shepherd Dog in New Town and Salt Lake areas. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedJaya Sengupta, a resident of Action Area I in New Town, who owns a Labrador, said: “We need a good crèche for our pets. It is difficult to travel with them and most of the hotels in India do not allow dogs and private crèches are not up to the mark and do not treat animals properly.” NKDA has specified charges for keeping dogs in the crèche and for visiting the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the clinic. One needs to pay Rs 150 for the OPD services and Rs 750 a day for keeping large breeds and Rs 500 a day for keeping small breeds of dogs at the crèche. These apart, pet owners will have to pay Rs 10,000 as a security deposit. Apart from the clinic-cum-crèche, the development authority has come up with a cemetery for dogs where 25 animals can be buried. It becomes a major hassle for dog owners to get a suitable cemetery. The burial charge is Rs 2,500 and dog owner needs to submit a death certificate of the canine from a recognised veterinary doctor.last_img read more

Elderly man found dead at home in Kolkata

first_imgKolkata, June 6 (IANS) A 65-year-old man was found dead in his home in Kolkata’s Broad Street area, police said on Thursday. The body of Biswajit Bose, who used to live with his daughter, was recovered from his residence in the late hours of Wednesday. There were external injury marks on the body, a police officer said. The motive behind the murder is not clear. We are investigating the case, police said.last_img