New dinosaur discovered in Japan named after Shinto god

·1 min read
The newly discovered dinosaur has been named Yamatosaurus Izanagii. (Screenshot: YouTube)
The newly discovered dinosaur has been named Yamatosaurus Izanagii. (Screenshot: YouTube)

On 27 April, it was reported in the English scientific journal Scientific Reports that a never-seen-before dinosaur fossil was discovered on Awaji Island, in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan. The fossil was embedded in a strata that dated back to the Cretaceous period about 72 million years ago.

The dinosaur fossil was first discovered in 2004, when amateur fossil collector Shingo Kishimoto found fossils in and around the mandible. A survey launched by the Museum of Nature and Human Activities later found fossils of the tail and other body parts.

The museum and Hokkaido University identified the fossil as belonging to a new genus of the herbivorous dinosaur Hadrosauridae, which has a long, flat, duck-like beak. The ninth dinosaur found in Japan that has been given a scientific name, it is estimated to be seven to eight metres from head to tail and weigh four to five tonnes.

The newly discovered dinosaur has been named Yamatosaurus izanagii, after the myth that the island was the birthplace of Japan. According to the myth, Awaji island was the firstborn of the Shinto gods Izanagi and Izanami. As for the word Yamato, it is the first capital of Japan, and by extension a name for the whole of Japan.

All of the fossils will be on display at the Museum of Nature and Human Activities from 12 May. If you are wondering why Awaji Island sounds so familiar, it is also the place where Godzilla is ready for you to zip-line into its menacing mouth.