Scientists just made an important discovery about why male seahorses get pregnant

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With their distinctive snouts and vertical posture, seahorses are some of the most unique creatures in the ocean. And with new genetic research, scientists are getting important insight into what made them that way.

In a new report published in Nature, researchers have pinpointed a gene activated in one of seahorses’ most intriguing adaptations: the pouches where males fertilize and hatch eggs. But the scientists are not merely exploring the curious phenomenon of male pregnancy: by studying how seahorses have evolved to breed that way, researchers can help conservationists protect the vulnerable species.

Watch the video above for a look at how male seahorses give birth, and for more perspective on what scientists have learned in the process of studying the trait.