A dinosaur-era reptile popped out babies, not eggs

Mammals give birth to babies, reptiles pop out eggs, right? An ancient fossil unearthed in China suggests the latter wasn't always true. Paleontologists have found a 245-million-year-old fossil of a pregnant reptile and her curled-up embryo.  The discovery suggests this long-necked reptile may have ditched its egg-bearing ways over time to gain a biological advantage, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal
Nature Communications.  SEE ALSO: Greenland fossils may be the earliest evidence of life on Earth In its day, the
Dinocephalosaurus could grow to be at least 13 feet long — with the neck making up about half that length. The aquatic reptile was a relative of dinosaurs and is a distant ancestor of modern crocodiles and birds, all of which belong to the major clade Archosauromorpha.  Dinosaur eggs! Image: Sergio Dionisio/Getty Images While live birth has evolved many times […]

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