A pregnant sea monster that died about 78 million years ago may have solved a mystery that scientists have pondered for almost 200 years. The fossilised remains of a plesiosaur were unearthed in Kentucky carrying a large foetus.
It’s the first expectant plesiosaur mother to be found since the species was discovered almost two centuries ago.
Study researcher Frank O’Keefe, of Marshall University in West Virginia, said: ‘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.
‘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 fact that the expecting mother only carried one offspring, and the sheer size of the foetus, indicate that the marine reptiles gave live birth.
Mr O’Keefe also said that the plesiosaur may have invested much more time and energy into nurturing their offspring than other marine reptiles at the time, similar to how humans invest years raising their kids.
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