A recent study reveals groundbreaking discovery that regards a group of animals that cover birds, dinosaurs, and crocodiles. This group is called Archosauromorpha and was thought from the beginning that its members could procreate only by laying eggs. Nonetheless, a team of scientists closed their eyes to everything they knew and challenged themselves to look at this species from a different perspective. This is why it was no wonder for them when they discovered the 245 million-year-old fossil of a protorosaurid reptile in China that was carrying an embryo.
The new study appeared in Nature Communications publishing. Jun Liu is the lead author of the document and describes the protorosaurid reptile as being up to four meters long while its long neck can reach even 1.7m in length. The scientists had to discover first if the embryo pertainied to the body it was found in or if it was part of a prey the reptile ingested. However, given the fact that usually, predators consume their capture with their heads first, so as not to get stuck in the digestive system, they concluded that they are actually looking at proof that reptiles were capable of live birth. Moreover, the small specimen inside the mother was tested positive that it belonged to the same species.
At the time he discovered the fossil, the embryo measured half a meter long, and it was actually a Dinocephalosaurus baby. This type of ancient creature is long gone and it used to be a marine pterosaur. Since the moment scientists managed to detach an entire race from a faulty supposition, they have started to look more closely into other fossils. The lead author stated that the next creature of interest for them would be an ancestor of today’s crocodiles. People are yet unaware of the reproductive method of these relatives of the great reptiles.
Another interesting detail scientists managed to understand was the way protorosaurid reptile determined the sex of its baby. Nowadays, most reptiles including crocodiles can learn the sex of their offspring by feeling the temperature of the nest. On the other hand, mammals and birds are identifying the sex of its babies genetically. Scientists found that protorosaurid reptile used the mammal’s method.
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