Dinosaur show in Japan – see the photogallery
Dinosauri, “il miracolo dei deserti”
Un lavoratore sostiene la testa della riproduzione di un Paralititan durante la preparazione della mostra ‘Dinosaur Expo 2009 – The Miracle of Deserts’, che apre oggi a Chiba vicino a Tokyo. In mostra per due mesi oltre 260 pezzi
see the photogallery
Una ragazza giapponese quattordicenne, Natsumi Kumagai, scopre una nuova specie di crostaceo che viene chiamata col suo nome: Hoploparia natsumiae
Japanese schoolgirl finds 130 million-year-old fossil
YUASA, Wakayama — An elementary school girl found fossils of a previously unknown species of shrimp here in a layer of the earth’s crust some 130 million years old, the Wakayama Prefectural Museum of Natural History has announced.
Natsumi Kumagai, a fourth-year elementary school student in Hannan, Osaka Prefecture, made the find when she took part in a fossil hunt hosted by the museum in Yuasa in December last year. Kumagai initially took the fossils home, but after museum curators reexamined them, the find turned out to be a previously unknown species of shrimp.
The new shrimp, which belongs to the genus of the extinct Hoploparia of the Nephropidae family, has been named after Kumagai — “Hoploparia natsumiae.” The “ae” added after “Natsumi” indicates feminine gender in Latin.
“I’m surprised to know that the fossils I found were that of a new species,” says Kumagai. “I’m happy that my name will live on forever.”
The museum says that fossils of 16 species in the same genus from 130 million years ago have been discovered around the world. The “Hoploparia natsumiae” fossils are the second species found in Japan, following another discovered in Gunma Prefecture.
Besides the “Hoploparia natsumiae,” fossils of six different and previously undiscovered species were found in the same stratum. The fossils will be displayed at the museum from Saturday.
Is the 87-million-year-old praying mantis recently found encased in amber in Japan a “missing link” between mantises from the Cretaceous period and modern-day insects?
It is a rare find indeed and its true significance is still to be deciphered.
Discovered in January of this year by Kazuhisa Sasaki, director of the Kuji Amber Museum, the fossil mantis measures 0.5 inch (1.4 centimeters) from its antennae to the tip of its abdomen.
It was found buried more than six feet below the surface of an amber mine in a part of Japan that is famous for producing large amounts of amber, the northeastern Iwate Prefecture.
“I found it in a deposit that had lots of other insects—ancient flies, bees, and cockroaches—but this was the only praying mantis” said Sasaki.
The fossil mantis is partially well preserved, although its wings and abdomen are badly crushed.
According to Kyoichiro Ueda, executive curator of the Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History, it is the oldest mantis fossil ever found in Japan and only one of seven in the entire world from the Cretaceous Period.
Even more unique is the fact that this mantis is different from the other six, in that it has two spines protruding from its femur and it has mysterious, tiny hairs on its forelegs.
No mantis from this particular time period has ever been found with spines, although modern mantises have five or six on their forelegs, which help them catch prey.
“The years of the late Cretaceous period were a kind of transition phase between the ancient and modern worlds, and this fossil displays many intermediate elements between the two eras” said Ueda.
Time alone will reveal the significance of this important find.