Plesiosaur dinosaur fossil solves breeding puzzle

Friday, August 19, 2011

The fossil bones of a giant, long-necked swimming reptile from the age of the dinosaurs have resolved a long-held mystery about the animals and how they reproduced.

Those denizens of ancient seas - like modern whales and dolphins - apparently gave birth to their infants beneath the water one at a time, and could have cared for them much as modern whales do, scientists say.

The unique water-living animal, known as a plesiosaur, lived about 78 million years ago, and while fossils of many other creatures in the marine reptile world of that era show they gave birth to a dozen or more young at a time, this one is the first to show evidence of a single birth and only in the water, according to the paleontologists.

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