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Dino-era delivery at sea

Genetic determination of gender is linked to live birth and evolutionary success of ancient marine reptiles

12:52pm, September 16, 2009

Reptiles that took to the seas during the Age of Dinosaurs succeeded evolutionarily in large part because their ancestors determined the gender of their offspring by genetics rather than by incubation temperature.

Today, the 60 or so known species of sea snakes are the only reptiles that spend their entire lives at sea, even giving birth there. Other marine reptiles, such as sea turtles and saltwater crocodiles, must return to land to lay their eggs, says Chris Organ, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University. But there’s another big difference between the fully aquatic reptiles and their bound-to-shore

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