FUKUI – Two fossilized tooth fragments from a prehistoric carnivore were found in a layer of ground about 84 million years old on the Nagasaki Peninsula, officials said Monday.
The fossils are believed to be from a dinosaur that was more than 7 meters long, although it is difficult to identify the species from just the fragments, officials at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and the Nagasaki city board of education said.
One of the fragments, measuring 35.4 mm by 26.8 mm by 11.2 mm, forms roughly half of an estimated 6-cm-long tooth from the root, they said. It is one of the largest fossils of a carnivorous dinosaur’s tooth ever found in Japan. The other fragment is 34.2 mm long and 13.6 mm wide.
Sharp protrusions show they were the teeth of a carnivore, the officials said.
Kazunori Miyata, chief researcher at the museum, discovered the fossils in July 2011 in the Mitsuze layer on the west coast of the Nagasaki Peninsula.
The discovery extended the known range of carnivorous dinosaurs to 13 prefectures in Japan, from Iwate in the northeast to Kagoshima in the southwest.
The Mitsuze layer, which is believed to have been formed in the late Cretaceous Period about 84 million years ago, has been a rich source of fossils, Miyata said, citing fragments of plant-eating dinosaurs, flying reptiles, alligators and turtles.
The new fossils are on display at Sanwa Gyosei Center in the city of Nagasaki until July 12 and at the Nagasaki Science Museum until July 28. Then the fossils will move to the Fukui dinosaur museum from Aug. 1 to Oct. 14. Starting Oct. 17, they will be displayed permanently at the Nagasaki Science Museum.