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Scientists Observe 40 Million Year Old Mite Sex

hold on to your butts

So imagine you and your dude, or your lady, or various and sundry are engaging in a bit of the loving and consensual hanky panky, when all of a sudden, right in the middle of it all… You get covered in a blob of resin, which becomes amber and preserves you for about 40 million years, and then unimaginably advanced aliens use you to form theories on what sex is like for your species.

It happens.

Forty million years ago, a female mite met an attractive partner, grabbed him with her clingy rear end and began to mate — just before a blob of tree resin fell on the couple, preserving the moment for eternity.

This was discovered by scientists, and their results were published in The Biological Journey of the Linnean Society. What follows is a story of male mites harassing female mites, and in response… female mites evolving a way to keep males from grabbing their butts. Literally. Just stay with me.

From Discovery:

In many present day mite species, males coerce females to mate. The males fight off other potential suitors, and guard females before and after mating. If a partner isn’t in the mood, too bad. Male harassment of females is common.

Female Glaesacarus rhombeus mites [the discovered ancient mite species], however, evolved a pad-like projection on the rear end. This enabled them to cling to males and direct the mating process. Males of this species lacked the handy “butt grabbing” structure.

And… we’re not sure what else we could say that would make that more funny. Where’s Gary Larson when you need him.

(Discovery via Boing Boing, original article here.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.