A dinosaur like Edward Scissorhands from the movie Scissor Hands, which lived on the coast of the Asian continent millions of years ago, used its hands to cut through vegetation rather than hunt animals, according to a new study.
Recently, researchers from Japan and the United States have described the youngest ‘therizinosaur’ fossil ever found in Japan. The findings were published online May 3 in the journal Scientific Reports.
This fossil is also the first fossil found in marine sediments in Asia, and represents a newly identified species that researchers have named “Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus.”
“‘Paralitherizinosaurus” means “reptile by the sea” in Greek and Latin.“ The species name “Paralitherizinosaurus japonicus” honors the Japan where the specimen was unearthed.
WHEN FOUND, THE FOSSIL CANNOT BE CLASSIFIED
Japanese scientists found the specimen in Nakagawa, an area known for its rich fossil beds and located in the northernmost part of Japan’s main islands.
The fossil was covered with concrete – a hardened mineral deposit – and at the time of its discovery, paleontologists said it was believed to belong to a therizinosaur, but due to a lack of comparative data at the time, Hokkaido University representatives said they were unable to draw any firm conclusions about the species.
New data from many other fossils discovered and described since then have helped classify the fossil based on the shape of the forefoot claw.
He used his claws to cut plants instead of hunting
Based on the analysis, the researchers concluded that this fossil belonged to a therizinosaur that lived between 80 million and 82 million years ago. This dinosaur used its sword-like claw to eat plants.
“This dinosaur used its claws as foraging tools rather than aggression tools,” said Anthony Fiorillo, a research professor in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences.
According to the study, therizinosaur fossils have been found in North America as well as Asia, and these animals have adapted to living in coastal environments over time.