Dinosaurs are again in the news. A team of paleontologists has unearthed a new genus and species of duck-billed dinosaurs in a fossilized discovery. These remains could belong to the popular hadrosaur, Yamatosaurus izanagii. The discovery has taken place on one of the southern islands of Japan.
Through it, some new data and information about hadrosaur migration have been derived. As per the recent findings, the herbivores migrated from the Asian continent to North America instead of the opposite. There has been a revelation regarding the evolution of the giant creatures as they started walking on their fours. Previously, they walked upright. Here are answers to numerous questions about the duck-billed dinosaur.
Hadrosaur Fossils Were Found In Many Places
The research recently came out in Scientific Reports. The articles were by Ryuji Takasaki of the Okayama University of Science, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of Hokkaido University Museum, Anthony R. Fiorillo of Southern Methodist University, and Katsuhiro Kubota of Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo.
Hadrosaurs are unique and distinguishable by their broad and flattened snouts. They also happen to be the most commonly found among all the species of dinosaurs. The herbivores date back to over 65 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period. The fossilized remains of hadrosaurs were found in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Hadrosaurs Were Different From Yamatosaurus
Since they could chew, hadrosaurs are unique, with hundreds of teeth that were close to each other. With wearing down and falling out of their teeth, new teeth grew as replacements. The main reason for the species diversity and the wider population is their ability to chew vegetation. This is what the researchers believe.
The dental structure of the Yamatosaurus makes them different from hadrosaurs. In comparison to the other hadrosaurs, the Yamatosaurus possesses just a single functional tooth. The structure of its teeth indicated that its evolution happened to help them chew various types of vegetation. This is one ability that the other hadrosaurs didn’t have.
Hadrosaurs Lived In Japan
The forelimbs and shoulder also distinguish the Yamatosaurus from the other hadrosaurs. Development of the shoulder and forelimbs is part of a dinosaur’s evolution process from a bipedal to a quadrupedal. The Hadrosaurs used the Bering Land Bridge for migrating from Asia to Alaska.
From there, they moved towards North America. When hadrosaurs roamed across Japan, the islands were a part of the eastern part of the Asian continent. The islands split from the mainland owing to tectonic activities some 15 million years back. The dinosaurs were extinct by then.
Yamatosaurus Fossils In Japanese Islands
A fossil hunter unearthed a part of the specimen of the Yamatosaurus in the year 2004 on Awaji Island of Japan. Mr. Shingo Kishimoto found the preserved teeth, lower jaw, neck vertebrae, tail vertebrae, and shoulder bone. They gave these to the Museum of Nature and Human Activities in Japan. Japan is famous for its vegetation cover. There are only a handful of outcrops suitable for hunting fossils. Amateur fossil hunters have been of great help, say experts.
There has been a collaboration of researchers who have studied hadrosaurs and various other dinosaurs in Japan, Mongolia, and Alaska. Yamatosaurus izanagii derived its name from Yamato (an ancient name of Japan) and Izanagi (a god from Japanese mythology). According to legend, Izanagi is famous for creating the Japanese islands, where they found Yamatosaurus.
Opening Avenues For Numerous Discoveries
Fiorillo and Kobayashi have identified with the second new species, Yamatosaurus, in Japan. The unearthing of the skeleton of the largest dinosaur in Japan was found in 2019. It was that of Kamuysaurus, another hadrosaurid. They found the skeleton on Hokkaido.
According to Kobayashi, these are probably the first dinosaur remains found in Japan. Before that, experts had no idea about dinosaurs living in Japan. They are optimistic that the recent discovery will help them put all the pieces together. And that could lead to understanding how dinosaurs relocated from one continent to another.
However, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done. And so much is still a mystery, which we will learn about only when more paleontologists find more fossils in the future. So, here’s hoping that more discoveries and advancements in science would help us understand the past and the future!