Thai Ph.D. student identifies new dinosaur species

A Thai Ph.D. candidate in Europe has determined that dinosaur bones found in northeastern Thailand represent a previously unknown species that roamed the Kingdom 80 million years ago.

His finding brings the total number of dinosaur species whose fossils have been found in Thailand to 16.

Adul Samathi, a Ph.D. student at Bonn University in Germany, studied the fossilized bones that had been unearthed by Sutham Yaemniyom, a retired geologist from the Mineral Resources Department. Sutham found them in 1993 while excavating a site at Phuwiang Mountain in Khon Kaen province.

The area is part of the Korat Plateau, described as the richest site in Southeast Asia for dinosaur fossils. Some of the bones there date to the Triassic Period, the first period of the Mesozoic Era (when the dinosaurs lived) around 250 years ago.

In 1976, Sutham also discovered the first dinosaur bones in Thailand. He found a femur of a sauropod, a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur similar to a brontosaurus. They are believed to have been among the most enormous creatures ever to walk the earth.

After seeing the 1993 bones, Ph.D. candidate Adul decided to study them. He noticed differences in them from other dinosaur bones and suspected they belonged to a separate dinosaur species. He estimated that the dinosaur would have been about 18-feet long, was a meat-eater, and lived during the Cretaceous Period.

Thailand has several dinosaur sites, museums, exhibits that are open to the public. They include the Phuwiang Dinosaur Museum, the Sirindhorn Museum in Kalasin province, Phu Faek Forest Park in Kalasin (where dinosaur footprints can be seen), and Si Wiang Dinosaur Park in Khon Kaen province.

Photo courtesy of