Oldest reptile embryos found, according to report in ScienceDaily 11 April 2012 and Historical Biology, 2012; 1 DOI: 10.1080/08912963.2012.662230. A team of researchers from South America and France have found fossilised mesosaurs (a reptile-like creature) associated with well preserved embryos and juvenile mesosaurs in Early Permian rocks in Uruguay. At another site in Brazil the researchers also found an adult mesosaur with an embryo contained within it, indicating the animals gave birth to live young or laid eggs at an advanced stage of development. The fossils are dated as 280 million years, making them the oldest reptile embryos ever found, as well as the oldest evidence of animals giving birth to live young. They are also the oldest amniote embryos, i.e. embryos surrounded by an amniotic membrane. The research team wrote in their report: “Our finds represent the only known documentation of amniotic embryos in the Paleozoic and the earliest known case of viviparity, thus extending the record of these reproductive strategies by 90 and 60 Ma, respectively”. (Viviparity means giving birth to live young.)
Editorial Comment: Since we have several mesosaurs in our collection, two things come to mind. Mesosaurs are usually regarded as aquatic so some sort of large and rapid watery catastrophe must have happened to bury both adults and young with embryos preserved intact. Secondly, if these are truly the oldest amniotic embryos as well as the oldest evidence of live birth, then they must also be evidence that live birth and the associated amniotic membranes have only ever existed together in a fully functioning state. This find is a declaration that there is no evidence live birthing evolved slowly and gradually from some other form of reproduction.
Furthermore, it’s easy to say the term “reproductive strategies” but such activities are something you have to get right in only one generation, since you don’t get another try, simply because you have died out and are extinct! These fossil mesosaurs and their embryos are good evidence that all available evidence of mesosaurs shows they are only known to have reproduced their own kind, even though they are now extinct. So let us be very clear about this: it is not the evidence that argues against their creation as fully formed creatures ready to reproduce after their kind, just as Genesis says, but the arrogant evolutionism of a baseless anti-biblical world view. (Ref. reptiles, development, ova, palaeontology)
Evidence News 18 April 2012