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STL Science Center
01 June 2013
Hadrosaurs of Japan Illustrated
Fukuisaurus, like many other hadrosaurs, is a fairly plain appearing animal. As a basal hadrosaur it is more cloesly related with the Iguanodonts than it is with the later hadrosaurs, and that may account for the presence of many of its rather plain features as well as the spikes that are apparent on its hands. The illustration above is a little more Iguanodon-like because it predates the description of the genus by about 5 years. The illustration could only have been made specifically for this animal, then, by the examples of the cotypes and the very little associated material. Since that time, however, much material has been collected and additional findings have adjusted the appearance of the animal fairly drastically.
The additional materials and advanced knowledge of the skeleton as well as of hadrosaur anatomy in general, has led to a much changed Fukuisaurus. The basal iguanodont form remains but the head has become more of an independent oval shaped skull and the feet, as is true with all hadrosaurs, have changed on both the forelimb and the hindlimb drastically since the previous illustration. The hands, for instance, are much less hand-like and more intermediary between what we would consider human like hands and paws. This would have occurred in an animal that was partially bipedal when feeding, at least, as it would have allowed the forelimbs to be used for guiding food into the mouth or stripping leaves from twigs; the teeth were probably better suited to the second task than the hands but it could have been done to help young reach foods they could not reach on their own if parental care accounted for part of the behavior of Fukuisaurus.