“[A] deliciously written account of the evolution of sex, in all of its bizarre manifestations” by a noted paleontologist—"Read, blush, and enjoy!” (Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel).
We all know about the birds and the bees, but what about the ancient placoderm fishes and the dinosaurs? In 2008, paleontologist John A. Long and a team of researchers announced their discovery of a 380-million-year-old placoderm fish fossil, known as “the mother fish,” which revealed the earliest known example of internal fertilization. As a result, placoderms are now considered to be the first species to have had intimate sexual reproduction, or sex as we know it—sort of.
Inspired by this incredible find, Long began a quest to uncover the evolutionary history of copulation and insemination. In The Dawn of the Deed, he takes readers on a lively tour through the sex lives of ancient fish and the unusual mating habits of arthropods, tortoises, and even a well-endowed Argentine Duck. Long discusses these discoveries alongside what we know about reproductive biology and evolutionary theory, using the fossil record to provide a provocative account of prehistoric sex. The Dawn of the Deed also explores fascinating revelations about animal reproduction, from homosexual penguins to monogamous seahorses to the difficulties of dinosaur romance.