First, part of the dinosaur's tail was discovered during a joint excavation carried out by the Hobetsu Museum and Hokkaido University Museum in 2013.
Subsequent excavations unearthed a nearly complete dinosaur skeleton, described in a study published in Scientific Reports. It belongs to a new genus and species of a herbivorous hadrosaurid dinosaur, the university said in a news release.
Scientists named the dinosaur "Kamuysaurus japonicus". The name comes from "kamuy," the word for diety in Ainu, the language of the indigenous people of northern Japan; "saurus," meaning reptile in Latin; and "japonicus" for Japan.
A group of researchers led by Yoshitsugu Kobayashi from the Hokkaido University Museum analyzed the skeletal bones. The dinosaur found was most likely an adult, according to the research team's histological study.
It was about 8 meters long and weighed either 4 or 5.3 tons, depending on if it walked on two or four legs respectively. That's around the weight of an Asian elephant.