(CTN News) – The Southern Methodist University in the US and Japan’s Hokkaido University have confirmed finding a new dinosaur fossil that roamed Asia from the early to the late Cretaceous period- approximately 145 million to 66 million years ago.
A newly found fossilized claw from a Therizinosaur species, Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus, belongs to the group Therizinosaurs.
Experts from Hokkaido University state that therizinosaurs were first discovered in Asia due to the presence of their fossils in countries such as China and Mongolia. Japan has also reported fragments of their remains.
A new species of therizinosaurid has been identified from fossilized claws unearthed in Hokkaido, Japan: Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus.
Watch the full video on the discovery’s significance on our YouTube channel:https://t.co/fUq2vbPe6I
— Hokkaido University (@HokkaidoUni) June 9, 2022
Dinosaur which had knives for fingers
Dinosaurs were known for their vicious claws, which had knives for fingers. The researchers, however, confirmed that they were not to slash their prey but to hook and pull vegetation into their mouths for grazing. Therizinosaurs were herbivorous dinosaurs with hollow bones and three-toed limbs.
The fossil was first discovered in the Osoushinai Formation in Hokkaido’s Nakagawa in 2008. The fossil was initially described as belonging to a manitoraptan dinosaur, but “the lack of comparative data at the time made confirmation impracticable”, Hokkaido University’s official release said.
Researchers revisited the fossil and classified Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus, meaning “reaper reptile by the sea from Japan,” into two classes-basal and derived therizinosaurs. Based on a detailed analysis of their claws, it was found that the claws of basal therizinosaurs were generalized, while those of derived therizinosaurs were specialised to assist in feeding.
The discovery of Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus indicates that therizinosaurs existed over a much longer time period in Asia than previously thought, the University said in a statement.
It is also the first record of a derived therizinosaur from a marine sediment in Asia, suggesting a possible adaptation to coastal environments among derived therizinosaurs.