|Web Japan > Kids Web Japan > Archives > Monthly News > Dinosaur|
New Type of Dinosaur Found in Japan
A new type of dinosaur was confirmed to have existed in Japan after scientists carefully examined 55 fossilized footprints. Each footprint is three-fingered, and measures 5 to 8 centimeters (2 to 3 inches) across.
The footprints were excavated in July 1995 in the town of Oyama, Toyama Prefecture, from a layer of rock around 120 million to 130 million years old. They were discovered by members of a paleontology research society in Toyama, headed by Toshikazu Hamuro.
Hamuro and Masaki Matsukawa, associate professor of Tokyo Gakugei University, made a careful study of the footprints and compared them with those found in other parts of the world. They reached the conclusion that they had found a new type dinosaur.
They say the footsteps belong to either a two-footed or four-footed plant-eater or to a two-footed flesh eater. The 55 prints were made by 33 separate animals, which were going in at least three directions.
Scientists said the footprints include those created by four dinosaurs traveling together heading northwest at a speed of around 1.2 to 1.5 kilometers (0.7 to 0.9 miles) per hour. The discovery is the first in Japan of dinosaurs that traveled in groups.
The name given to the new species is Toyamasauripus Masuiae. It is the second dinosaur discovered in Japan to be given a scientific name.
Photos: (Top) A three-finger footprint discovered in Toyama; (middle) An illustration showing the probable size of the dinosaur; (above) Fifty-five footprints were discovered in all. (Toyama Paleontological Research Club)