Western Japanese fossil is new dinosaur species

NHKn -- Apr 28
Japanese scientists have classified the fossilized bones of a dinosaur found on an island in western Japan as a new species.

The remains were discovered by an amateur fossil collector Kishimoto Shingo on the island of Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture in 2004. They were found in a layer of soil dating to the Late Cretaceous era, or about 72 million years ago.

A group led by Professor Kobayashi Yoshitsugu of the Hokkaido University Museum conducted an analysis and determined that the fossil belongs to Hadrosauridae, a duck-billed herbivorous dinosaur. It is the first of its particular kind to be discovered.

The dinosaur is estimated to have measured up to eight meters long and weighed between four and six tons.

The dinosaur was given the scientific name of "Yamatosaurus izanagii." Izanagi is a deity that appears in a Japanese myth closely connected to the island.

Kishimoto said he is grateful that the dinosaur has a name that lets people know it belongs to Awaji.

Professor Kobayashi said he will study further to find out details of the environment's impact on the evolution of dinosaurs.

The initial findings have been published in the British science journal, Scientific Reports.

The fossil is expected to be on exhibit at a museum in the prefecture from mid-May.

- NHKn