The discovery of a fossilized bone in an accident could be a pleasant surprise for scientists or even a child, but when in Japan in the 1950s dam workers stumbled over a large bone, they did not really know what to do with it. It was assumed that the unidentified bone came from a dinosaur, and although it was an interesting artefact, the locals did not care. Now, after he finally got into the hands of paleontologists, he was properly studied. It turned out that it was not from a dinosaur.
The bone is actually the femur of a long extinct aquatic herbivore that belongs to the genus Paleoparadoxia. The hippo-like creature is not nearly as old as the dinosaurs, but it could be just as interesting.
The story of how the bone was laid is a wild one. After its first discovery many decades ago, it was exhibited in a small village hall. A few years later, a part of the city was decimated by a fire, and the bone ended up in the back of a museum, along with an original note from its discoverers who described it as a dinosaur femme. Last year, the bone was discovered in a wooden box and then the scientists got a first look at it.
By comparing the bone with other animals from the same group of animals, the researchers concluded that the fossil was actually a remnant of an old herbivore. Paleoparadoxia lived a long time ago, but not quite as far back as the dinosaurs. In an article published in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers estimate the bone to be around 1
It is believed that the ancient animal had lived like modern water-eaters and had eaten marine vegetation to pack pounds on its sticks frame. They would have been able to cross the bottom of rivers and seas, only to breathe fresh air and catch a glimpse of the surrounding area.