Cenozoic

Published on June 30th, 2017 | by Liz Martin-Silverstone

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Episode 78: Japanese Palaeontology

When thinking of palaeontology in Asia, most people think of Mongolia and China, but there is actually a significant palaeontology community in Japan. Japan has many fossils, starting in the Ordovician, and ranging from everything from bivalves and trilobites to dinosaurs and mammals. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Makoto Manabe, the Director of the Centre for Collections and Centre for Molecular Biodiversity Research at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo. Makoto introduces us to Japanese palaeontology by walking Liz through the Japan Gallery at the museum, starting from the earliest fossils found up to more recent cave deposits.

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The skull of the Early Triassic ichthyosaur Utatsusaurus on display. Photo by M. Manabe

The elongated bivalve Konbostrea, unique to Japan. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone.

Amazing diversity of ammonites on display from Japan, including the bizarre heteromorph ammonites on the bottom row. Photo by M. Manabe

Uncoiled heteromorph ammonites from Japan. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone

Model of the plesiosaur Futabasaurus suzukii, at the front of the Japan Gallery. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone.

Cast of the skeleton of Futabasaurus suzukii, as it was found. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone.

The desmostylian Paleoparadoxia tabatai. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone.

Teeth of Desmostylus japonicus. Photo by L. Martin-Silverstone.

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