May 29, 2008

Fossil reveals oldest live birth

A fossil fish uncovered in Australia is the oldest-known example of a mother giving birth to live young, scientists have reported in the journal Nature.

The 380 million-year-old specimen has been preserved with an embryo still attached by its umbilical cord.

The find, reported in Nature, pushes back the emergence of this reproductive strategy by some 200 million years.

Until now, scientists thought creatures from these times were only able to develop their young inside eggs.

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