Japanese scientists have discovered a whole new dinosaur species from a nearly complete skeleton, the largest ever discovered in the country, measuring eight metres (26 feet) long, a herbivore, who walked on either two or four legs, and liked living by the sea.
The discovery was announced in the British peer-reviewed journal "Scientific Reports, " on Thursday, September 5th.
The team, led by Hokkaido University, analysed hundreds of bones dating back 72 million years, and concluded that the skeleton belonged to a new species of hadrosaurid dinosaur, a herbivorous beast that roamed the Earth in the late Cretaceous period, AFP has reported.
Part of the tail was first discovered in northern Japan in 2013 and later excavations revealed the entire skeleton.
The team named the dinosaur "Kamuysaurus japonicus," meaning "Japanese dragon god," according to a statement issued by the university.
Scientists believe the dinosaur was an adult aged nine and would have weighed between 4 tonnes and 5.3 tonnes, depending on whether it walked on two legs or four.
Team leader, Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, was quoted as saying, "the fact a new dinosaur was discovered in Japan means there was once an independent world of dinosaurs in Japan or in East Asia, and an independent evolution process."
The dinosaur most likely lived in a coastal area, and the research has raised the possibility that some species of dinosaur “preferred to inhabit areas near the ocean, suggesting the coastline environment was an important factor in the diversification” of dinosaurs in their early evolution, according to the university.