Dinosaur fossils basis for seeking UNESCO recognition

The discovery earlier this year of fossils belonging to a fifth species of dinosaur native to northeastern Thailand has inspired officials in Khon Kaen province to begin applying to become the second UNESCO Global Geopark in the Kingdom.

Over the years, scientists have found a treasure trove of fossils in Phu Wiang National Park in Khon Kaen. But fossils have been found in several locations in the northeastern region of Thailand, also known as Isan. Dinosaurs were once plentiful across the entire Korat Plateau, which covers several provinces in the northeast. Phu Wiang, a town in Khon Kaen, has a dinosaur museum and a research center.

“If Phu Wiang National Park is recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark, it would further heighten the park’s profile on a global scale, opening the door even wider for people from around the world to come and conduct their archaeological research here,” said Kemchart Somjaiwong, Honorary Chairman of the Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce.

UNESCO says that Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international and geological significance are managed with a holistic concept that encompasses the sites’ protection, public education, and sustainable development.

“It is critical that the site is well-planned and well-managed in an active and meaningful way — which means involving local residents in the protection and the upkeep of Phu Wiang National Park,” said a UNESCO official.

Thailand has one UNESCO Geopark in southern Satun province. It includes two national parks and one wildlife sanctuary within its confines. It is often called the “Land of Paleozoic Fossils” because of the abundance and diversity of finds there. Among the fossils uncovered in Satun have been trilobites, brachiopods, stromatolites, conodonts, graptolites, tentaculites, and nautiloids.

photo courtesy of https://www.tatnews.org/2018/03/dinosaurs-take-families-off-thailands-beaten-track-into-isan/dinosaur-museum-phu-wiang-national-park-6/