Fossil bones of the ancient elephant were excavated one after another in Taga in 1993. Scholars said that they were the bones of Akebono-zoh (Stegodon aurorae) whose ancestor came from Asian Continent 450 million years ago and after separating Japan from Asian continent, Stegodon aurorae adapted to the environment of Japan Island and lived about 180 million years ago. Stegodon aurorae's fossil bones were excavated in several places in Japan, but the numbers of the bones in Taga were the most numerous and kept in good condition. Therefore, the Ministry of Education of Japan announced last year that they decided to designate them as a national natural monument. Celebrating the decision, Taga town museum held an exhibition related to the Stegodon aurorae named "Art exhibition of Stegodon aurorae" from March 18th to April 9th in 2023. More than 200 applicants submitted their work which were two-dimensional figures such as paintings, wood prints,etc., three-dimensional works or video works for the exhibition. I also heard that those applicants were not only local people but also from all over Japan, or even from overseas.
Mr. Ono who is in his twenties working at the company in Taga and often stops by my cafe, submitted his work which was the miniature restoration of the Stegodon aurorae. Over the past several months, he read many related documents and academic papers and he often went to the curator of the museum to ask his questions in order to make it as real as possible.
There were so many two dimensional works and artistic works which were amazing, and Oho's work looked rather humble but he researched the shape of the sole of the Stegodon aurorae, how to build muscle which supported his fangs, the shape of back bone, or other detailed parts and talked about the process to me enthusiastically in my cafe.
The works of the higher-ranking winner were all very artistic and wonderful but I would like to give a grand prize to Ono's miniature Stegodon aurorae.