Plesiosaurs did not lay eggs: scientists say
The 78-million-year old fossilized remains of a plesiosaur provided scientists with evidence that the long-necked swimming reptile from the age of the dinosaurs used to give birth to single, large young rather than laying eggs.
Scientists’ conclusion is based on the fossilized pregnant plesiosaur carrying a large fetus. The fossil was unearthed around 200 years ago from a ranch in Kansas, United States. The 5m-long fossil skeleton has been in the basement of the Los Angeles County museum for the last two decades.
Scientists found that that the bones they were dealing with were in fact of two separate animals- an adult plesiosaur and a baby plesiosaur.
Scientists stressed that the juvenile was unlikely to have been eaten by the larger animal as there were no signs of bite marks on its tiny bones. The soft, immature skeleton indicated it was to-be-born young that was only two-thirds of the way through its development.
Speaking on the discovery, palaeontologist Adam Smith from the Birmingham Science Museum said, "[The find] provides the first direct evidence for live birth in plesiosaur. It's a very interesting find... has been a long time coming."
The lack of fossil evidence of a pregnant plesiosaur was very frustrating as the mystery about the reptile’s parenting had been puzzling scientists for the last two hundred years.
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