Pregnant Fossil Suggests Ancient ‘Sea Monsters’ Birthed Live Young
by Jennifer Welsh
A giant marine reptile was likely ready for her baby shower about 78 million years ago when she died. The fossilized pregnant plesiosaur was carrying a large fetus when she was unearthed in Kentucky, the first expectant plesiosaur mom to be found since the species was discovered almost 200 years ago.
“This is the first known pregnant plesiosaur. It demonstrates that the plesiosaur gives live birth and did not crawl out on land [to lay eggs]. It puts this 200-year mystery to rest,” said study researcher Frank O’Keefe, of Marshall University in West Virginia. “The really interesting thing is how big this bouncing baby is. It’s really large by reptilian standards, by human standards, by any standards you use.”
The sheer size of the fetus, and the fact that the mother was only carrying one offspring, indicate that these marine reptiles gave live birth and may have invested much more time and energy into their offspring than other marine reptiles at the time…
(read more: Live Science) (image: S. Abramowicz, Dinosaur Institute, NHM)