Dinosaur footprints found in northern Thailand

Was Thailand once home to Triassic Park? A drought in the northern reaches of the Kingdom has uncovered a flood of dinosaur footprints estimated to be 225 million years old, as more evidence emergences that prehistoric Thailand was once prime real estate for the massive animals roaming the Earth.

A geologist with the Office of Mineral Resources visited the site in the northern province of Phetchabun, which was a stream that had dried up to due to the lack of rainfall affecting the area. A geologist, Kamonlak Wongko, said that the prints appeared to be those of sauropods, a species of long-necked herbivores that proliferated during the Triassic Period.

Known as “The Age of Reptiles,” the Triassic Period lasted roughly from 250 million to 200 million years ago and occurred after the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

“Bookended by extinctions, this era saw huge shifts in the diversity and dominance of life on Earth, ushering in the appearance of many well-known groups of animals that would go on to rule the planet for tens of millions of years,” according to the British Museum of Natural History website.

The significance of this latest fossil find in Thailand is that it is outside the region where most previous finds have occurred. That would be the Korat Plateau in northeastern Thailand, which consists of several provinces.

The first dinosaur fossil in Thailand was discovered in 1973 in the province of Khon Kaen. Since then, a trove of fossils of various types of dinosaurs have been found, including some heretofore unknown. The most recent was in 2019 when a shark toothed raptor, given the name Siamraptor, was uncovered in Korat, following the discovery in 2016 of another new type of raptor, named a Vayuraptor – a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Thailand has also opened a dinosaur museum in Khon Kaen near the site of the first discovery.