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New Species of "Shark-toothed" Dinosaur Discovered in Thailand
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New Species of "Shark-toothed" Dinosaur Discovered in Thailand

A new species of predatory dinosaur with shark-like teeth has been discovered in Thailand, according to research published on Wednesday (9/9), as reported by CNN.

A new species of predatory dinosaur with shark-like teeth has been discovered in Thailand, according to research published on Wednesday. 

Researchers from Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University (NRRU), Thailand, and Fukui Prefectural University (FPU), Japan, believe the dinosaur, which they have named Siamraptor suwati, was a top predator around 115 million years ago. It is thought to have been at least 8 meters long.

A reconstruction of a Siamraptor skull based on fossil evidence. Image: Chokchaloemwong et al., 2019
A reconstruction of a Siamraptor skull based on fossil evidence. Image: Chokchaloemwong et al., 2019

Their study, which is part of the Japan-Thailand Dinosaur Project, was published in the open-access PLOS ONE journal.

Soki Hattori, a paleontologist at FPU, was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Siamraptor is the largest predator in the environment and thus could be an apex predator at that point in time."

The fossils, which came from at least four individual dinosaurs, include parts of this species' skull, backbone, limbs, hips and teeth, a news release on the study said. 

Siamraptor, meaning “robber from Thailand,” sheds light on the early evolutionary history of a dinosaur group known as carcharodontosaurs.

Skeletal reconstruction of Siamraptor suwati showing the collected fossils of the ancient predator. Image: Chokchaloemwong et al., 2019
Skeletal reconstruction of Siamraptor suwati showing the collected fossils of the ancient predator. Image: Chokchaloemwong et al., 2019

The group’s best-known member is Carcharodontosaurus - meaning “shark-toothed lizard” - a dinosaur that was among largest carnivores ever on Earth, living about 90 million years ago in northern Africa and reaching about 45 feet (13.5 meters) in length. The teeth of dinosaurs in this group boasted traits resembling those of a shark, enabling efficient flesh-tearing.

Since the earliest known fossils from this dinosaur group come from Africa and Europe, it was a surprise to find an early member in Southeast Asia. no one had found any fossils of the giant predators from the same time period in Asia. 

According to Smithsonian MagazineSiamraptor is the first and oldest definitive dinosaur of its family in southeast Asia, indicating that these imposing cousins of Allosaurus had spread to several ancient continents during the Early Cretaceous.

In comments to CNN, Hattori hailed the "important" discovery as shedding "new light on the early evolutionary history of this group."

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