Sex was invented by a 385million-year-old fish from Scotland

Two armoured-plated fish living in a lake in what is now Scotland hundreds of millions of years ago were the first vertebrates to ever have sexual intercourse.

The extinct prehistoric fish in question is Microbrachius dicki, a 3in long placoderm and a very early ancestor of humans.

Australian scientists, publishing their findings in the Nature journal, revealed that not much has changed in the last 385million years: in order to transfer sperm, males had grooved L-shaped claspers held in place by small paired bones on females.

"Placoderms were once thought to be a dead-end group with no live relatives, but recent studies show that our own evolution is deeply rooted in placoderms, and that many of the features we have, such as jaws, teeth and paired limbs, first originated with this group of fishes," said Professor John Long, of Flinders University, Adelaide.

"Now, we reveal they gave us the intimate act of sexual intercourse as well."

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