We have a pregnant
plesiosaur (Fig. 1; O’Keefe and Chiappe 2011; LACM 129639; Late Cretaceous, 78 mya)…
and a pregnant primate (Fig. 2) very dear to my heart.
Being a mom goes way, way back
In our lineage, first cells stuck together, flagella out (Fig. 3). Then four cells stuck together. Then eight. Ultimately hundreds stuck together creating a sphere, or blastula. And little blastulas formed inside until they were large enough to break free.
Plesiosaurs and primates capable of understanding prehistory
followed shortly thereafter. The basics of being a mother haven’t really changed much in the last few billion years.
O’Keefe FR and Chiappe LM 2011. Viviparity and K-selected life history in a Mesozoic marine plesiosaur (Reptilia, Sauropterygia). Science. 333 (6044): 870–873. doi:10.1126/science.1205689.
Peters D 1991. From the beginning – the story of human evolution. Little Brown. 128 pp. Online here.