Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis: Fossils of Another Species of Dinosaur Found in Thailand
Researchers in northeastern Thailand have uncovered fossils belonging to a new species of dinosaur, bringing the number of dinosaur species known to have once roamed the area to eleven.
Paleontologists have named this most recently unearthed species the Vayuraptor nongbualamphuensis. The researchers said this raptor is a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex, although it is smaller in size. It had shark-like teeth and the reptile may have been the dominant predator in the area before its extinction.
Pladet Srisuk, a researcher at Maha Sarakham University, says the dinosaur’s name was taken from the Sanskrit name of the Hindu god Vayu, described as the Lord of the Winds.
Most raptor remains have been found in Africa and Europe, and so researchers said the find was surprising. Scientists have been discovering dinosaur fossils in Thailand since 1976. The first find was a bone from a sauropod discovered by government workers drilling for minerals in the Phu Wiang area of Khon Kaen province.
Virtually all of the fossils have been found on the Korat Plateau, an area spanning several problems in the northeast, known colloquially as Isan. The Vayuraptor bone was unearthed in Nong Bua Lamphu, a small province situated between Khon Kaen and Udon Thani.
Vayuraptors lived during the Cretaceous period, which began approximately 130 million ago and came to a close 65 millions years ago when about 95 percent of dinosaurs disappeared. Scientists generally believe the dinosaurs were wiped out when a meteor or comet struck the earth.
Thailand has established a dinosaur museum at Phu Wiang in Khon Kaen province where the first fossil was found.