It’s been a good year for the discovery of new carnivorous dinosaurs in Thailand. Last May, two new meat-eating dinos were announced, and now a third one has been found. The novel predator was discovered in the Khok Kruat Formation of Khorat.
As reported in the open-access journal PLOS One, the new animal has been given the name of Siamraptor suwati. The paleontological team led by Duangsuda Chokchaloemwong found several fossilized remains, including parts of a skull, backbone, limbs, and hips. These belonged to at least four individuals. The researchers estimate that based on the fragments they have, the animal was between 6 and 7 meters (20 and 23 feet) in length.
Despite the lack of a full skeleton, the fossils gave the team important insight into the animal. Based on the shape of these remains, the team believes that this dinosaur belonged to the Carcharodontosaurus.
These Carcharodontosaurus are a group of large carnivores that lived during the Late Jurassic and early Cretaceous periods for tens of millions of years. They are therapods, the hollow-boned, three-toed dinosaur suborder to which T-Rex and the Allosaurus (a particularly close relative) belong.
Siamraptor suwati is not the first member of the group to be found in Asia, but it is the first one to be found in Southeast Asia. It is also from a similar time period to well-known examples of these ancient predators, which have been discovered in Europe and Africa, showing that these therapods were spread out across the world.
The team consider this creature a basal member of the Carcharodontosaurids as it likely experienced an early evolutionary split from the rest of the group. The Carcharodontosaurids lived between 157 and 66 million years ago, and the Siamraptor was discovered in rocks from between 125 and 113 million years ago.
Over the last 10 years, a huge number of non-marine fossil vertebrates have been found from the Mesozoic, the epoch when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth. The Siamraptor is the fifth species discovered in the Khok Kruat Formation of Khorat.