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Prehistoric Lizard That Lived 300 Million Years Ago Could be Earliest Animal to Start Parenting

Researchers have found a 300-million-year-old fossil of a lizard-like creature covering the skeleton of a small creature with its tail.

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Updated:December 27, 2019, 5:23 PM IST
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Prehistoric Lizard That Lived 300 Million Years Ago Could be Earliest Animal to Start Parenting
Image for representation | Credit: Reuters

A new study has revealed that in prehistoric times animals used to deploy resources at their disposal to increase the chances of survival of their offspring.

The study has been done by Carleton University in Canada’s Ontario.

Researchers have found a 300-million-year-old fossil of a lizard-like creature covering the skeleton of a small creature with its tail.

Scientists have said that the small creature might have been the offspring of the lizard and the fossil could be the earliest evidence of parental care. They added that the behavior resembles that seen in mammals today.

The study, led by Hillary Maddin, professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the university, has been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

The new research has given us evidence of prolonged postnatal care in a vertebrate, Maddin told phys.org.

She said the adult animal was very protective of their offspring and used to hide their juveniles in a den till they were alive.

“This behavior is very common in mammals today. It is interesting to see this animal, which is on the evolutionary line leading to mammals, exhibiting this behavior so early,” Maddin added.

The evolution of parental care evolution has been an enigma for scientists till today. Parental care is particularly common in mammals as their offspring requires nourishment from their mothers.

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