Sexual extravagance can lead to extinction, study says

Avatar By Tyler MacDonald | 3 years ago

A new study suggests that sexual extravagance can come with the risk of extinction, according to Brinkwire. Scientists analyzed thousands of ancient crustacean fossils called ostracods, which have existed on the planet for approximately 500 million years.

Male ostracods are identified by their elongated shell that accommodates their large sexual organs. Underneath this shell is a large muscular pump that discharges sperm, which measures an average of 20 to 30 percent of their body length.

The study examined 93 species of extinct ostracods that lived during the Cretaceous period approximately 66 million to 85 million years ago.

The team found that males with a larger shell died out quicker compared to females of the same species.

“In the short term the males had an advantage, but it turns out in the long term, not so much,” said Gene Hunt, lead author of the study.

The results suggest that creatures that devoted too much energy to reproduction didn’t successfully adapt to climate changes. The team hypothesizes that the data “provides a strong indication, and the first good documentation from the fossil record, that sexual dimorphism tends to increase extinction risk.”

Despite the results, there is still not sufficient data to determine the relationship between gender and species extinction due to the difficulty in determining whether fossils are male or female.