85 million-year-old dinosaur skull found in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - An 85 million-year-old dinosaur skull has been found in southwestern Japan, one of the oldest discoveries of its kind in the country, the Kyodo news agency said on Saturday.

The fossilized skull, belonging to a herbivore called hadrosaurid, was unearthed on a mountain in the town of Mifune in Kumamoto prefecture, Kyodo said, quoting an official of the Mifune Dinosaur Museum.

The fossil was found in February 2004 by an amateur expert, but only identified as the skull of a hadrosaurid after a delicate cleaning process.

Kyodo said it was the first discovery of a hadrosaurid skull in Japan, although other body parts have been found in Hokkaido and Fukushima and Hyogo prefectures in northern Japan.

Hadrosaurids, which were seven to eight meters tall, are also known as “duck-billed dinosaurs” because of their heads’ resemblance to ducks, with a wide and flat bill similar to that of a platypus, Kyodo said.