New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Thailand

Skeletal reconstruction of Siamraptor suwati. Cranial elements were scaled to fit in with the holotype (surangular). Scale bar equals 1 meter. (PLOS ONE)

(CN) – Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur species, dubbed the Siamraptor suwati, in Thailand.

In a study published Wednesday in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers led by Duangsuda Chokchaloemwong of the Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University revealed their discovery of ancient fossils belonging to a never-before-seen species of dinosaur. Researchers believe the Siamraptor suwati is a member of the carcharodontosaurs family, a strong predatory group common to several continents during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The discovery of the Siamraptor marks the first carcharodontosaur from Southeast Asia.

“Both phylogenetic analyses using two independent datasets locate Siamraptor as the most basal member of carcharodontosauria, which also means that this taxon is the first definitive carcharodontosaurian theropod from Southeast Asia,” according to the study.

Scientists located the fossils in Khorat, Thailand, within an ancient rock formation known as the Khok Kruat Formation. Researchers determined the fossils, made up of assorted limbs, skulls and hip bones, belonged to four individual Siamraptors. Data from the fossils suggest the Siamraptor was a “basal member” of the carcharodontosaurs family, indicating the Siamraptor experienced an early evolutionary break from the other carcharodontosaurs.

The discovery also suggests that carcharodontosaurs likely inhabited numerous continents far sooner than was originally believed. Researchers cross-examined the data from the Asian Siamraptor fossils with data taken from other carcharodontosaurs fossils in Africa and Europe and determined the species had spread across the three continents by as soon as the early Cretaceous period 100 to 145 million years ago.

Scientists believe these new revelations could significantly affect the way we interpret known timetables regarding early dinosaur migration and activity.

Chokchaloemwong did not respond to request for immediate comment by press time.

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