250 Million-Year-Old Lizard Embryo Discovered in China

By Catherine Lee, March 17, 2017

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An international team of scientists recently discovered an embryo inside the fossil of a 250 million-year-old lizard with a freakishly strange head that came from ancient China. 

The Dinocephalosaurus (AKA the "Terrible Headed Lizard") is a prehistoric species that previously only believed to lay eggs before. The discovery marks the first ever piece of evidence to prove that they could go through live birth, something common among mammals (where the embryo grows within the mother's placenta). 

Dinosaur embryo

Live births are also common among lizards and snakes, where the babies sometimes hatch out of their eggs before they are exposed to the outside world. 

The fossil falls under the category of an "archosauromorph." In other words, it's an extremly long-necked marine creature. It is believed to have dwelled in southern China's shallow seas during the Middle Triassic period.

Sea creature

Scientists found the fossil at the Luoing Biota excavation sites in southwest China.

[Image via Hefei University of Technology]

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