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Seventh new dinosaur discovery confirmed in Japan

JIJI

A new kind of dinosaur has been confirmed in Katsuyama, Fukui Prefecture, researchers said Friday, bringing the number of species discovered in Japan to seven.

According to fossil analysis, the new creature was a small theropod that had both primitive and derived features, according to the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum and Fukui Prefectural University. It has been named Fukuivenator paradoxus, or “paradoxical hunter of Fukui.”

Fukuivenator is a species that existed when theropods began to evolve into birds, according to Yoichi Azuma, a professor at the university. Fukuivenator “failed to become a bird.”

Fukuivenator was about 2½ meters long and weighed about 25 kg, Azuma said.

The discovery emerged from a study of some 160 fossil fragments from an animal found in August 2007 in a stratum from the Lower Cretaceous period, some 120 million years ago. Some 70 percent of its body parts were left in very good condition.

Fukuivenator, which was covered with feathers, had two-forked cervical vertebrae, which are not found in any other theropod. Its hearing was equivalent to that of birds, and the shapes of its scapula and thighbones are similar to those of the primitive Coelurosaur, from which flying animals originated.

In general, theropods, including Tyrannosaurus, are carnivorous. But Fukuivenator, which had a long neck, is believed to have been omnivorous.

Fossils of four new dinosaur species were found in the same stratum where those of Fukuivenator were excavated.