Tag Archives: fossils

Kid Living the Dream

26 Jun

Hi Blog.

This one came up on my news feed today.  A kid living the dream.  Article from the Japan Times.


Fossilized mammal skeleton from the dinosaur era found in central Japan

JUN 25, 2016

The partial remains of a fossilized skeleton of a herbivorous mammal has been discovered in a layer of earth from the Lower Cretaceous, about 120 million years ago, in Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, researchers announced Saturday.

It is rare that an entire fossil of a mammal from the era of the dinosaurs is found, according to Fukui Prefectural University and the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum.

The skeleton was discovered in June 2014 by Kakeru Funato, then an elementary school student in the fourth grade, who was attending a fossil excavation event in the Katsuyama Dinosaur Forest Park.

A computerized tomography examination by the university and the museum determined that it was the skeleton of a small grass-eating mammal from an extinct group called Multituberculata, which had similar characteristics to Rodentia.

“A fossil skeleton of a Multituberculata mammal is very rare,” Kazunori Miyata, associate professor of Fukui Prefectural University, said. “It will serve as a very important sample that helps unravel the diversification and evolution of Multituberculata mammals.”

The animal is estimated to have had a body length of about 13 centimeters when it was alive, according to the museum and the university. The portion of the well-preserved fossil is 5 centimeters long, 2.6 cm wide and 1.3 cm in height.

Judging from its teeth and body size, it might be a species that had never been discovered before, the researchers said.

In the Katsuyama park, rocks are brought in from an excavation site in the city so the general public, including children, can experience what it is like to be a paleontologist. Funato, the 11-year-old boy from the city of Gifu, took part in the event with other members of his family.

He discovered the rare find after cracking into a rock.

“When I found it, I thought it might be a discovery of a sort,” he said. “But I’m astonished to learn it was an important enough fossil to make news.”

Funato came to like dinosaurs after looking at a picture book while he was in kindergarten.

Article ends.

Well done, Funato.  Keep living the dream.


Tiny Dinosaur Eggs Unearthed in Hyogo

4 Jul

Hi blog.

Just a quick find from the English language press, this time about the smallest known dinosaur egg ever discovered.  I need to visit the dinosaur museum in Fukui someday…

Article from the Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/sci_tech/science/AJ201506300041

New type of tiny dinosaur egg unearthed in Hyogo

By TAKESHI ITO/ Staff Writer

SANDA, Hyogo Prefecture–Fossilized fragments of very small dinosaur eggs dating back about 110 million years have been discovered.

The pieces are from a new, unknown type of dinosaur egg and were extracted from a strata in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture, that dates to the early Cretaceous Period, the Museum of Nature and Human Activities announced on June 29.

“The finding shows various dinosaurs, including both small and large ones, inhabited areas around there,” said Kohei Tanaka, 29, a graduate student of the University of Calgary in Canada.

The scientists estimate the weight of each egg would have been 100 grams, slightly heavier than that of a hen’s. They said the size of the eggs is among the smallest compared with that of other dinosaur eggs.

The unearthed eggshells are double-layered and measure 0.44 millimeter thick. Based on a unique tree branch-like pattern on the surface, the prefecture-run museum concluded they are a new type of dinosaur egg.

The discovered egg was named Nipponoolithus ramosus oogen. et oosp. nov., which basically means branched Japan egg stone in Greek and other languages.

Although it is impossible to identify which species the dinosaur that laid the eggs belong to just from examining fossilized eggshells, the researchers said the fossils resemble eggs of a small bipedal theropod found in Asia and North America that weighs 15 kilograms.

Ninety fragments of fossilized eggshells were found in a four-year excavation that researchers at the museum in Sanda began in 2007. After an analysis of 70 of the 90 pieces, it was found that eight are of the new type of egg.

They were found within a short distance from the site where bones of Tambatitanis amicitiae, one of the largest herbivores found in Japan, were unearthed in 2006.

The other fragments are thought to be eggshells of three other theropods and an ornithopod, according to the scientists.

The findings have been published in the online edition of the earth science journal Cretaceous Research. The eggshells are to go on display at the museum from July 21.

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

Fossilized fragments of a new type of dinosaur egg have been found in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture. The egg is characterized by a unique branch-like pattern on the surface. The scale is graduated in millimeters. (Takeshi Ito)

An artist’s rendition of a fully-grown dinosaur that would have laid eggs unearthed in Tanba, Hyogo Prefecture ((c) Masato Hattori)

Another Piece in the Puzzle? – Alligator Fossil Found on Oki Island

29 Jan

I saw on the TV news the other day that a near-complete fossilised head of a sea turtle had been discovered in Hyogo.  Hoping to find something about it in the English language press I did a web search, but to no avail.  I did, however, come across an article from late last year which adds another layer of possibility to the origins of the wani in the tale of The White Hare of Inaba.

Exerpt from The Japan Times

MATSUE, SHIMANE PREF. – Shigenori Kawano, 32, found last summer what was later identified as East Asia’s oldest fossil of a giant alligator, dating from around 20 million years ago, on Oki Island in the Sea of Japan.

In mid-July, the researcher at Shimane Nature Museum of Mount Sanbe found a 30-cm rock on the Shimane Prefecture island’s shore while studying local animal and plant life.

Kawano said that when he saw part of a bone exposed on the surface of the rock, he instantly knew it must be that of a reptile.

“The size was nothing compared with that of a turtle or a soft-shelled turtle,” he said.

After carefully examining the rock, he learned that the bone, which measured 21 by 18 cm, was a fossilized portion of the backbone of an alligator estimated to be up to 7 meters long.

Full article here: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/12/30/national/paleontologist-finds-fossil-of-gator-dating-back-20-million-years-on-oki/#.UugOFrSAbIV



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