|Ana Verayo |||Apr 11, 2015 09:59 AM EDT|
(Photo : Julius T. Csotonyi/YaleNews) Mosasaurs gave birth in the ocean and not near shore, according to classic theory.
A prehistoric giant marine lizard that once roamed the Earth's oceans apparently had a unique way of giving birth to its offspring, according to new research.
Researchers from Yale University and the University of Toronto have identified specimens housed at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History that make them believe these massive, mighty mosasaurs that grew 50 feet long apparently give birth to their young in the open ocean and not near the shore.
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These new findings now shed light on long held questions about what kind of environment this predator was exposed to during prehistoric times. Mosasaurs ruled the oceans on the planet before they went extinct some 65 million years ago.
According to study lead author Daniel Field from Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics, mosasaurs were among the most intensively studied vertebrate animals from the Mesozoic era. Evidence about how baby mosasaurs were born and what kind of birthing environment they were exposed to has been historically vague and elusive, however.
Field and his team examined the youngest mosasaurs specimens ever found for this study from fossils discovered more than 100 years ago in Yale Peabody Museum's collections. The fossils were first thought to originate from ancient marine birds.
Field along with Aaron LeBlanc from the University of Toronto concluded the specimens presented different kinds of jaws and teeth features unique to mosasaurs. The fossils were also discovered in open ocean deposits.
LeBlanc confirms the only bird-like features from the fossil specimens were their small size. Theory suggests mosasaurs laid their eggs on beaches and that newborn babies didn't live in sheltered nurseries but this new evidence is contrary to that.
This study was published in the journal, Palaeontology.
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