July 15, 2010

Dinosaurs in Thailand

On Monday the Science section of the New York Times published "Old Bones Yield a New Age of Dinosaurs in Thailand," an article that reveals Thailand’s rich prehistoric past. According to the Times, Thailand was “teeming” with dinosaurs starting around 200 million years ago. Now, during periods of heavy rain, giant dinosaur bones wash ashore in the remote region of Baan Na Kum. For many years, residents were unsure of what to do with the ancient bones. So where did the prehistoric bones end up? Some were kept in local Buddhist temples:

For years, farmers did not know what they were or what to do with them.

The superstitious buried them. Others brought them to Buddhist temples, where monks collected them alongside artifacts and other curios.

Now the message is out: Don’t throw away the dinosaur bones.

“It used to be a taboo — people didn’t want to bring them home,” said Varavudh Suteethorn, a paleontologist who has spent the last three decades leading dinosaur excavations. “After we worked for about 10 years in the area, people started to know more about it.”

Looks like the days of storing dinosaur bones alongside Buddhist relics may be over as Thailand begins to cash in on its prehistoric past. Visitors to the area can now see fossilized dinosaur foot prints and visit the local dinosaur museum.

Images: nytimes.com and brucekekule.com

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