Baby ‘Sea Monster’ Found Inside Fossil Mother
The long-necked pair offer rare evidence that an ancient group that included dinosaurs and birds was capable of live birth.
Finding a creature curled inside the belly of an ancient sea beast might not seem surprising at first. After all, the huge fossil belonged to a water reptile with a ridiculously long neck and a knack for swallowing its prey whole.
But when paleontologists took a closer look, they found that the extra fossil inside its body was no meal: Instead, the giant animal was a mother.
In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, an international team describes a 245-million-year-old Dinocephalosaurus fossil with the preserved remains of a fetus inside. (Also read "Jurassic ‘Sea Monster’ Emerges From Scottish Loch.")
Found at a fossil site in southern China, several pieces of evidence made it clear that the smaller animal