Thursday, 2 December 2010

New (extinct) croc species discovered

Researchers discovered a new species of crocodile that lived about 100 million year ago in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, or Korat.

Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University and Mahasarakham University announced at a press conference on Thursday the discovery of the new species of crocodile dubbed 'Khoratosuchus jintasakuli' after the nickname of the province Korat where the fossil was found. The last name comes from the surname of the director of the Northeastern Research Institute of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources, Pratueng Jintasakul.

The fossil, kept at the Northeastern Research Institute of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources in Nakhon Ratchasima, is a 191-millimetre-long skull dug up from an excavation site in Baan Saphan Hin near Nakhon Ratchasima’s provincial seat.

According to a study, the fossil is from the Cretaceous period Khok Kruat Formation of Thailand’s Northeast. The fourth ancient species of crocodile found in Thailand, it is estimated to be around 100 million years old.

Komsorn Lauprasert, a scientist at Mahasarakham University, said the size of the skull indicated that it was likely about a two to three year old specimen and its body was about two metres long. The characteristics of its teeth showed that it probably fed on fish.

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