The fossilized remains of a prehistoric elephant which roamed over Asia more than two-million years ago, have been discovered near Tokyo.
The fossilized remains of a prehistoric elephant which roamed over Asia more than two-million years ago, have been discovered near Tokyo. They belong to a species known as `bombifroms' and it is the first such discovery in Japan.
SYNOPSIS: The remains were found at the construction site of a rubbish dump in Itsukaichimachi, west of Tokyo. A large molar tooth was dug up at the site last May by an employee at the tip, and he told a friend who teaches at a high school about the discovery. The teacher organised an excavation team, which later unearthed about 400 pieces of the fossilized skeleton. It is in good condition, although the head was missing. Deer fossils and seeds from a variety of plants were also discovered, and when analysed, they could provide information on the climate of the Pliocene epoch.
Japanese paleogeologists praised the discovery which they hope will shed some light on the evolution of elephants. But plans to restore the skeleton have come to a halt. The people who made the discovery asked the government for help, but were told grants could only be given for work to restore man-made archaeological objects.
An official of the Cultural Affairs Agency did say, however, that the national government could extend grants once the fossils were declared a national monument. In the mean time, the discoverers of the fossils are cleaning the bones with a resin, hoping to prevent them from becoming weathered.