Mesozoic marine reptile fossil showing live birth unearthed in China

Researchers have found the oldest embryos of a Mesozoic marine reptile in China, that they say must be 248-million-year-old.

Elaborating upon the fossil from the Mesozoic era (252 to 66 million years ago), researchers said that they found the fossils of as many as three embryos: An ichthyosaur baby inside its mother (orange),  another stuck in her pelvis (yellow) and a third embryo that was stillborn. They believe that their mother must have died during a difficult labor.

Ichthyosaur is narrow, eel-like creature that belongs to the genus Chaohusaurus. Scientists say it is the oldest known species of the group.140212183700-large

The findings were not only surprising for the Mesozoic-era discovery but scientists say this has made new revelations that ichthyosaurs—also dubbed sea monsters—can not only gave birth in water but also on land.

It was believed that these creatures can only give birth in water. After studying the fossils they reached to the conclusion that as the fossil showed the offspring emerging head-first, they can give birth on land.

Giving birth with offspring emerging head-first is a behavior found only in animals that give birth on land, researchers explained. The babies of most marine animals like whales are born tail-first, they underlined.

It is a common theory that reptiles lay eggs and mammals give birth to live young. This strategy is known as viviparity. But this new study suggests that there is a missing link in the reproduction pattern of the reptiles.

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


  • GreatSkeptic

    But the earth is only 10,000 years old..

    • I thought it was 6,000? Seriously, there are lots of numbers flying around but not a single Human Being can say for certainty. The term “Very Old” will have to suffice for now. =p

  • Del Horton

    So Nancy Pelosi was borne in China?

  • disqus_bknK3KQwzq

    definitely not an eel like creature… No not at all , more like a dolphin or porpoise type creature. .

  • Max P

    I’m sorry to be a grammar geek but I browsed this article for about 15 seconds and found two errors. I never bother to comment on the poor grammar of posters, but I think journalists should have a pretty good understanding of the written word. Come on Amanda Pierce!