Dinosaur tooth unearthed on Kagoshima isle


City officials of Satsumasendai in Kagoshima Prefecture announced this week that a piece of fossilized tooth believed to be that of a herbivorous dinosaur under the Ceratopsidae species has been unearthed from 80-million-year-old strata on Shimokoshiki Island in the city.

This is the first-ever discovery of a Ceratopsidae fossil in Japan and only the third in Asia, the officials said Tuesday.

Measuring 8.6 mm long and 12.1 mm wide, the fossil piece is believed to be a part of a tooth in the lower jaw of a dinosaur in the species, they said, adding the dinosaur may have been several meters long.

Triceratops is the best-known dinosaur under the Ceratopdisae species. It has not been confirmed whether the unearthed piece belonged to a triceratops.

On the same island, fossils of carnivorous dinosaurs have been discovered before.

Makoto Manabe, a researcher at the Tokyo-based National Museum of Nature and Science who led the excavation, said the other two similar discoveries were in China and Uzbekistan.