By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An extraordinary fossil unearthed in southwestern China shows a pregnant long-necked marine reptile that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs with its developing embryo, indicating this creature gave birth to live babies rather than laying eggs. Scientists on Tuesday said the fossil of the unusual fish-eating reptile called Dinocephalosaurus, which lived about 245 million years ago during the Triassic Period, changes the understanding of the evolution of vertebrate reproductive systems. Dinocephalosaurus is the first member of a broad vertebrate group called archosauromorphs that includes birds, crocodilians, dinosaurs and extinct flying reptiles known as pterosaurs known to give birth this way, paleontologist Jun Liu of China's Hefei University of Technology said.
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