Thailand a world leader in fossils after jawbone find

Department of Mineral Resources deputy chief Tossaporn Nuch-anong yesterday unveiled the latest addition to one of the world's richest fossil collections, a Stegodon's fossilised jawbone of up to 1.8 million years old.

THAILAND - Some 100 new fossil specimens have been recorded recently in Thailand.The Stegodon jawbone was found among other fossils in a cave in Satun's Thung Wa district, attached to two lower wisdom teeth.

Tossapon hailed the fossil discovery as Southern Thailand's first of a mammoth-like animal with long tusks.

He said they had also found fossils of two ancient rhino species. The Satun fossils would be displayed for the first time at the Thung Wa Mammoth Museum to be opened in November.

The site survey also revealed exciting geological evidence such as sedimentary rock layers from the Paleozoic Era, the oldest of its kind discovered in Thailand, Cambrian Period shell fossils and blue-green algae sedimentary fossils from 440 million years ago.

Thailand is the only ASEAN country with some 100 world-class-important fossils and Asia's second most prolific fossil source after China, he said. He said Thailand, in the past 20-30 years, had found many fossilised items including new species with spines -- such as the dinosaurs' five known families and eight new families, two new types of crocodile, four new fish and some 30 mammals.

In addition they also found fossils of 40 spine-less species including seven new corals, three nautilus/ammonite types and 20 brachiopods.

"These items discovered are the nation's heritage that we must preserve and we are registering them now," he said.