Jiji PressOKAYAMA (Jiji Press) — A set of bones from a huge dinosaur have been found in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia in a joint research project by Japanese and Mongolian scientists.
The fossil skeleton, which is believed to have belonged to a sauropod dinosaur, was discovered in a geological layer from the late Cretaceous period, some 70 million years ago, Okayama University of Science said Wednesday.
It is one of the largest fossil skeletons ever found in such a layer in Asia, according to the university.
The university also said that the joint team separately discovered in the desert one of the largest fossilized bipedal dinosaur footprints unearthed so far.
The newly found footprints of an ornithopod dinosaur species measured 85 centimeters by 1.15 meters.
A footprint of over one meter in width is likely to have belonged to an ornithopod dinosaur some 17 meters long, larger than Tyrannosaur rex, a bipedal carnivorous dinosaur that was about 12 meters long.
According to Shinobu Ishigaki, a professor at the university, the sauropod dinosaur skeleton is composed of bones in the hip to the tail base, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of the entire body. Included is a thighbone that is thick and as long as 1.55 meters. This indicates that the creature was very large and had a thick body.
It is extremely rare for such a set of sauropod bones to be discovered at once, Ishigaki noted.