Newly Found Japanese Duck-Billed Dinosaur Was a Cretaceous Seaside Bum

Artist’s depiction of Kamuysaurus japonicus.
Illustration: Y. Kobayashi et al., 2019/Scientific Experiences

Introducing Kamuysaurus japonicus—a wholly new genus and species of hadrosaur from Japan. The placement of its fossilized stays suggests these majestic herbivores browsed historic shorelines, increasing our information of this wildly profitable group of dinosaurs.

New analysis printed in the present day in Scientific Experiences describes Kamuysaurus japonicus, a species of hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, pulled from Japan’s Hakobuchi Formation. The practically full fossilized skeleton was present in 72-million-year-old marine deposits, suggesting the creature foraged alongside the shoreline, a rarity for hadrosaurs.

“It is a lovely new dinosaur skeleton and doubtless one of the crucial essential dinosaurs ever present in Japan.”

The bones of Kamuysaurus japonicus have been discovered alongside the fossilized stays of sea turtles and mosasaurs (an extinct aquatic reptile that appeared very like a contemporary whale), additional reinforcing that this dinosaur dwell by the ocean.

“It is a lovely new dinosaur skeleton and doubtless one of the crucial essential dinosaurs ever present in Japan,” Steve Brusatte, a College of Edinburgh paleontologist not concerned with the examine, advised Gizmodo in an e-mail.

Hadrosaurs have been a brilliant profitable group of dinosaurs that lived in the course of the Late Cretaceous interval (100 million to 66 million years in the past), with their fossilized bones having been recovered in Eurasia, North and South America, and Antarctica. These herbivores may stroll on both 4 or two legs, permitting them to graze alongside the bottom or attain tall branches.

The practically full skeleton of Kamuysaurus japonicus.
Picture: Y. Kobayashi et al., 2019/Scientific Experiences

Again in 2013, the partial tail of this specimen was found on the Hakobuchi Formation, resulting in extra in depth excavations on the website. Scientists managed to uncover a virtually full skeleton, the bones of which have been rigorously analyzed by Hokkaido College Museum paleontologist Yoshitsugu Kobayashi and his group. It’s the “largest dinosaur skeleton ever present in Japan,” in accordance with a Hokkaido College press launch.

Paleontologist Liz Freedman Fowler, an assistant professor of biology from Dickinson State College, stated dinosaur fossils from Japan are “uncommon and often very fragmentary, so it is vitally thrilling to have such a remarkably full skeleton. Freedman Fowler, who’s not affiliated with the brand new analysis, described the brand new examine as “multifaceted and really effectively accomplished.”

Bodily evaluation of the specimen included some 350 particular person bones. The creature was a mid-sized, absolutely grown hadrosaur that was round 9 years previous when it died. The researchers speculate that its carcass floated out to sea, finally falling onto the seafloor, permitting it to be preserved in sediment. When alive, this herbivore measured round eight meters (26 ft) in size and weighed upward of 5.three tons.

Within the new examine, Kobayashi and his colleagues stated Kamuysaurus japonicus was just like China’s Laiyangosaurus and Russia’s Kerberosaurus, and that it belongs throughout the Edmontosaurini clade of dinosaurs. Accordingly, the analysis is offering new insights into the origin of this clade, and the way these animals unfold throughout the planet. Kamuysaurus japonicus and its shut relations possible traveled by way of Alaska, which related Asia to North America in the course of the Late Cretaceous.

“It’s a member of a gaggle that appears to have immigrated from North America after which diversified in Asia in the course of the very finish of the age of dinosaurs,” defined Brusatte. “It’s one other reminder that dinosaurs have been actively transferring round and diversifying proper up till the top of their reign.”

This species of hadrosaur featured three distinctive bodily traits that distinguish it from different members of the Edmontosaurini clade, thus warranting the creation of a wholly new genus and species of dinosaur. These options included a small crest on its cranium, a brief row of forward-leaning spines on its again, and a shorter-than-usual bone plate in its jaw bone.

As a result of hadrosaur crests “develop and alter form because the animal grows up,” they can be utilized to find out whether or not the specimen was an grownup, stated Freedman Fowler.

“This skeleton was near full-size for this species, and the cranium bones present that there was a good-sized bony crest on the cranium, which was surprising for a relative of Edmontosaurus, which solely had a soft-tissue crest on its in any other case boring cranium,” defined Fowler in an e-mail to Gizmodo. “The nasal crest bone itself is lacking, so the subsequent thriller will likely be discovering precisely what form that crest would have been.”

As a ultimate observe, we requested Freedman Fowler if it’s nonetheless appropriate to discuss with hadrosaurs as “duck-billed dinosaurs.”

“Good query,” she stated. “We all know it’s a poor time period and never correct, however we don’t have something higher, so sure for most people—we nonetheless say ‘duck-billed dinosaurs.’”

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