Japanese scientists find new dinosaur species

James Marshall
September 7, 2019

This is a reconstruction of Kamuysaurus japonicus.

A new kind of dinosaur has been unearthed in Japan, and it's the largest dinosaur skeleton ever found in the country.

A partial tail was first found in Mukawa, Hokkaido, in 2003 and later excavations revealed the entire skeleton.

In the current study, a group of researchers led by Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the Hokkaido University Museum conducted comparative and phylogenetic analyses on 350 bones and 70 taxa of hadrosaurids, which led to the discovery that the dinosaur belongs to the Edmontosaurini clade, and is closely related to Kerberosaurus unearthed in Russian Federation and Laiyangosaurus found in China.

An analysis of 350 bones and 70 taxa of hadrosaurids determined that the dinosaur belongs to the Edmontosaurini clade, and is closely related to Kerberosaurus fossils unearthed in Russian Federation and Laiyangosaurus found in China.

The fossil remains of these dinosaurs are common in the uppermost Cretaceous deposits in the supercontinent Laurasia (North America, Asia, and Europe) and some areas of the supercontinent Gondwana (South America and Antarctica). Further excavations found a almost complete skeleton - the largest ever found in Japan.

The group led by Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the Hokkaido University Museum analyzed the lower jaw and backbone of the duck-billed herbivorous dinosaur and determined that it is a previously unknown species.

It was about 8 meters long and weighed either 4 or 5.3 tons, depending on if it walked on two or four legs respectively.

The dinosaur was nicknamed Milawaryu, after the excavation site, but scientists later gave it a proper classification, Kamuysaurus japonicus, meaning the deity of Japanese dinosaurs.

The team believes that the skeleton they found is an adult that was aged nine or older.

The researchers also identified a number of unique features, including a small crest on the skull and a short row of neural spines that point forwards.

The discovery was published in British peer-reviewed journal "Scientific Reports".

The research raises the possibility that some species of dinosaurs "preferred to inhabit areas near the ocean, suggesting the coastline environment was an important factor in the diversification" of the dinosaurs in their early evolution, the university said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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