Oldest Sea Monster Babies Found; Fossil Shows Reptiles Had Live Birth

Mother ichthyosaur died while giving birth, scientist says.

Fossil of Chaohusaurus reveals a baby inside its mother (orange) and another stuck in her pelvis (yellow).

The oldest embryos of a Mesozoic marine reptile have been unearthed in China, pre-dating the previous record by ten million years, a new study says.

The 248-million-year-old fossil from the Mesozoic era (252 to 66 million years ago) reveals an ichthyosaur baby inside its mother (orange) and another stuck in her pelvis (yellow). A third embryo discovered nearby suggests it was stillborn; scientists believe the mother died during a difficult labor.

The narrow, eel-like ichthyosaur belongs to the genus Chaohusaurus and is the oldest known species of the group. (Also see “Pictures: Oldest Dinosaur Embryos Show ‘Big Surprises.'”)

The findings were published February 12 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Read more at the National Geographic

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