Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A dinosaur whose fossil skeleton was discovered in a 72-million-year-old geological layer in Mukawa, Hokkaido, in 2003 has been identified as a new species of a new genus, a research team said Friday.
In an article published in the British journal Scientific Reports, the team of Hokkaido University and other researchers said that it has given the dinosaur, called “Mukawaryu” in Japanese, a scientific name, “Kamuysaurus japonicus,” which means Japanese dragon god.
Mukawaryu, which was classified into the Hadrosaurus herbivorous dinosaur family in 2013, is the eighth new dinosaur species found in Japan and given a scientific name.
“The skeleton is in the best shape among those found in Japan,” Hokkaido University Prof. Yoshitsugu Kobayashi said.
Its scientific name is “appropriate for a dinosaur discovered in Hokkaido,” said Kobayashi, noting that “kamuy” in kamuysaurus was taken from the language of the Ainu indigenous people in the northernmost Japan prefecture.
The skeleton is believed to be that of an adult Mukawaryu nine years old or over that seems to have reached a length of 8 meters and weighed 4 to 5.3 tons.
After comparing it with fossils of 70 closely related species found in North America, Asia and elsewhere, the team found that the Mukawaryu skeleton has several unique features, including forward-tilting bones protruding from the backbone.