Fun Nipponosaurus Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 13, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 23, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read fun facts about Nipponosaurus.

Nipponosaurus, a kind of hadrosaur, was discovered on the Sakhalin Island in 1934 when this site was a part of the Japanese territory. Currently, this region is a part of Russia. This dinosaur was formally named and described in 1936.

It existed during the Late Cretaceous period. 60% of the skeleton of this dinosaur has been recovered, however, some important bones, including much of the skull, are still missing. The name 'Nipponosaurus' literally translates to "Japanese Lizard".

Nipponosaurus had a duck-billed head with a hollow crest and short front legs. Being herbivorous, this dinosaur fed on different vegetation around it.

It has been estimated that the ecosystem of Nipponosaurus featured low-lying plains near coastal regions. Due to the absence of complete fossil remains, tons of information regarding the social and reproductive behavior of this species is still a mystery. However, the discovery of Nipponosaurus opened the gates to further research into Japanese dinosaurs.

To learn more about Nipponosaurus, keep reading! You can also check out Regaliceratops and Elaphrosaurus.

Nipponosaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Nipponosaurus'?

The pronunciation of the name 'Nipponosaurus' is 'Nip-pon-o-sore-us'

What type of dinosaur was a Nipponosaurus?

Nipponosaurus is a hadrosaur dinosaur, belonging to the Hadrosauridae family and the Lambeosaurinae sub-family. Hadrosaur dinosaurs were characterized by a duck-billed skull and herbivorous diet.

In which geological period did the Nipponosaurus roam the earth?

Based on fossil studies, this dinosaur is estimated to have roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous period, around 80 million years ago. This era corresponded to the Upper Campanian stage of the Cretaceous period.

When did the Nipponosaurus become extinct?

This dinosaur probably became extinct during the Late Cretaceous era itself.

Where did a Nipponosaurus live?

The holotype specimen of this dinosaur was collected from Sakhalin Island in the year 1934. Back then, this area was a part of Japan. However, now, Sakhalin Island is a part of Russia.

What was a Nipponosaurus' habitat?

The fossils of Nipponosaurus were collected from the Upper Yezo Group, of the then-Japanese territory. This site of discovery has provided researchers with some clues about the ecosystem of the dinosaur. It probably lived in low-lying plains, near the coastal region. Such areas had sufficient terrestrial vegetation, which aided the herbivorous diet of this species.

Who did a Nipponosaurus live with?

Though there is not enough information to confirm the social behavior and structure of Nipponosaurus, several species of hadrosaurs have displayed herd behavior. So, it is possible that the Nipponosaurus dinosaurs lived in herds, as well.

How long did a Nipponosaurus live?

There is insufficient information to let scientists estimate the exact life span of this dinosaur species. Generally speaking, hadrosaurs had average life longevity of 25 years. So, Nipponosaurus may have had a similar life expectancy.

How did they reproduce?

Like any other dinosaur species, Nipponosaurus were oviparous and gave birth by laying eggs. Fossil records show that hadrosaurs displayed a variety of complex reproductive behavior. Some members of this family took part in communal nesting, burying their eggs, and taking care of their young. Hence, the Nipponosaurus dinosaur may have shown similar behavior.

Nipponosaurus Fun Facts

What did a Nipponosaurus look like?

This 'Japanese Lizard' dinosaur had a distinct appearance, as estimated from its fossil remains. Some of the unique characteristics of the members of this group are the presence of a shelf-like structure on the lower jaw, the existence of a vertical coronoid process from the lower jaw, and quite short front legs.

In fact, these distinguishable characteristics justified the placement of Nipponosaurus in a unique taxon of its own.

Apart from these unique features, Nipponosaurus had other physical attributes, which were common with other kinds of hadrosaurs. This dinosaur had the typical duck-billed skull, common to members of Hadrosauridae. It also had a hollow head crest placed right at the top of its snout. The pelvic bones of this dinosaur were similar to that of present-day birds.

Nipponosaurus had a duck-like bill.

How many bones did a Nipponosaurus have?

A complete skeleton of this dinosaur has not been discovered, so there is no information regarding the total number of bones possessed by Nipponosaurus.

However, the holotype skeleton which was collected is 60% complete and consists of a number of important bones, like 35 caudal vertebrae, 13 cervical vertebrae, two sacral vertebrae, left maxilla, a few skull elements, most of the forelimbs and hindlimbs, and so on.

How did they communicate?

Computer models created by researchers suggest that the crests in hadrosaurs may have been used to produce low-bellowing calls as a form of mating call or even to warn each other about predators. So, the 'Japanese Lizard' or Nipponosaurus may have communicated using a similar tactic.

How big was a Nipponosaurus?

Based on the fossils, the length of the Nipponosaurus dinosaur was measured at 13 ft (4 m). However, since the specimen belonged to a juvenile dinosaur, it can be assumed that an adult Nipponosaurus grew longer in size.

In comparison to another hadrosaur, known as Brachylophosaurus, with an estimated length of 36 ft (11 m), the Nipponosaurus dinosaur was significantly smaller.

How fast could a Nipponosaurus move?

The speed range of this dinosaur has not yet been ascertained. In general, hadrosaurs were fast-moving animals. Some estimates even suggest that certain species of hadrosaurs could outrun the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex. Additionally, hadrosaur footprints have led scientists to believe that the feet of these dinosaurs were webbed.

How much did a Nipponosaurus weigh?

The Nipponosaurus weight is estimated to be around 750 lb (340 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names assigned to the male and female dinosaurs of this species.

What would you call a baby Nipponosaurus?

A baby Nipponosaurus is known as a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Dinosaurs of this 'Japanese Lizard' genus had a herbivorous diet. So, they probably foraged on the variety of plants surrounding them in their natural ecosystem. They may have displayed grazing or browsing behavior. The duck-billed head was the ideal tool for hadrosaurs, including Nipponosaurus, to bite off twigs and leaves.

How aggressive were they?

Given the herbivorous diet of this dinosaur, it is quite possible that it wasn't aggressive in nature.

Did you know...

The species name, 'sachalinensis' was given to this dinosaur, as it was discovered from the Island of Sakhalin.

How was the Nipponosaurus discovered?

The bones of Nipponosaurus were discovered in the year 1934 during the construction of a hospital. This was designated as the holotype and was given the tag UHR 6590.

Subsequent excavations in the year 1937 led to the discovery of limb bones belonging to the holotype dinosaur. These discoveries led to the first study of dinosaurs in the Japanese territory and were considered to be the starting point for further research into Japanese dinosaurs.

Why is it called Nipponosaurus?

The name 'Nipponosaurus' has a significant history behind it. This genus name was derived from the Japanese word, 'Nippon'. 'Nippon' is Japanese for Japan. So, its entire genus name translates to 'Japanese Lizard'.

It was the first dinosaur to be named based on its site of the discovery in Japanese territory. The name was given by professor Takumi Nagao in the year 1936. However, Sakhalin Island, from where the holotype bones of this dinosaur were discovered was eventually annexed by Russia and this place now falls under Russian territory.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Fukuiraptor fun facts and Europasaurus facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable connect the dots dinosaur coloring pages.

*The second image is by Kabacchi.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

Read full bio >