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Prehistoric Lizards Preferred Water Births, Study Shows

posted: 04/14/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Baby mosasaur illustration
Julius T. Csotonyi

A new study from Yale University reveals that a group of giant, prehistoric marine lizards gave birth to their young in the open ocean. Scientists previously believed that the mosasaurs, which ruled the oceans 65 million years ago, traveled to the shore to give birth.

"Mosasaurs are among the best-studied groups of Mesozoic vertebrate animals, but evidence regarding how they were born and what baby mosasaur ecology was like has historically been elusive," remarked study lead author Daniel Field.

Field and his colleagues examined specimens found in the open ocean that were believed to be ancient marine birds. Closer inspection reveled that the fossils were, in fact, baby mosasaurs.

"Really, the only bird-like feature of the specimens is their small size," noted Aaron LeBlanc. "Contrary to classic theories, these findings suggest that mosasaurs did not lay eggs on beaches and that newborn mosasaurs likely did not live in sheltered nearshore nurseries."

Click here for more information from the Yale University

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