A team of Japanese researchers and archaeologists have announced on Jan. 21 that they may have found a complete skeleton of a dinosaur which existed around 72 million years ago in the small town of Mukawa in Hokkaido, Japan. The team of scientists said that what they have unearthed in the mountains surrounding the town looks to be the remains of a hadrosaurus – an aquatic dinosaur from the Cretaceous period.
“It is very likely the entire skeleton,” said Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, associate professor of paleobiology with the Hokkaido University, who heads the research group. If ever, the team – which includes personnel from the Mukawa Hobetsu Museum – would be digging up the first full skeleton from the late Cretaceous period ever discovered in the country. The first parts of the fossilized skeleton was discovered by a local collector in 2003 and is thought to be part of the full skeleton of the animal. Eventual studies of the bone fragments led researchers to believe it was part of the tail bone from a member of the hadrosaurid dinosaur family, a group of dinosaurs known by their duck-billed appearance.
Consequent excavations made in September and October last year led to the discovery of a batch of 100 other bones believed to be from the same animal, which brought the total to around 30% of the full skeleton being discovered – from the hip area of the dinosaur to the tail. The research team also found three teeth, pointing to the possibility that the head and maybe the entire skeleton was buried within the area. Alive, scientists believe that this specific hadrosaurus would be around eight meters long and weighs around seven metric tons, making it one of the largest hadrosaurids ever discovered.