The reptile labour that lasted 248 million years
What a moment to preserve in time. Scientists have discovered a fossil capturing what could be the oldest live reptilian birth – 10 million years older than those seen before.
The Chaohusaurus was a giant marine reptile that lived about 248 million years ago. It looked a little like a cross between a dolphin and a lizard, with flippers but no dorsal fin. In this exceptional specimen, discovered in a quarry in Anhui, China, you can clearly see a live birth – the baby ichthyosaur's head has just exited its mother's pelvis. There are at least two other offspring involved in the birth: one is still inside the mother's body, the other lays beside her.