Fossil ‘is first pregnant lizard’
A 120-million-year-old fossil is the oldest pregnant lizard ever discovered, according to scientists.
The fossil, found in China, is a very complete 30cm (12in) lizard with more than a dozen embryos in its body.
Researchers from University College London, who studied the fossil, say it was just days from giving birth when it died and was buried during the Cretaceous period.
The fossil is especially interesting to scientists because it is a reptile that produced live young rather than laying eggs.
Only 20% of living lizards and snakes produce live young, and this shows it is an ancient, if unusual, trait.
“I didn’t think much of the fossil when I first saw it,” said Prof Susan Evans, joint lead author of the paper, from University College London.