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Horned dinosaur fossils found, 1st in Japan

Horned dinosaur fossils have been found in Japan for the first time, according to the Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo, in Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture. The fossils were found from the lower part of a group of geological layers known as the Sasayama Strata in Sasayama City, which date back some 120 to 140 million years to the Early Cretaceous Period. Horned dinosaurs are herbivorous dinosaurs thought to be a primitive species of Neoceratopsian dinosaurs including large Triceratops, which thrived in the Late Cretaceous Period. The fossils are on display at the museum through Dec. 27. (Photo: A dinosaur skeleton model, courtesy of Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum)
The unearthed fossils are three pieces -- an upper jaw bone with teeth (42 mm long), a front jaw bone (29 mm long) and a dentary bone (14 mm long). The bones are believed to be those of a dinosaur measuring some 60 cm in length. The fossils are very well preserved. Possible excavation of a complete set of the dinosaur's fossils is expected. Neoceratops, believed to have originated in East Asia, became larger as it spread to North America. The find is attracting attention as a precious resource for pinpointing the period in which early Neoceratops existed and for studying the evolution of dinosaurs.
Fossils of the Tambaryu, the largest herbivorous dinosaur ever found in Japan, and those of the country's oldest mammal, have been unearthed from the same strata.

For inquiries, please contact Museum of Nature and Human Activities, Hyogo. (Tel: 079-559-2001;
URL: http://www.hitohaku.jp/english)