First Dinosaur Fossil Ever Discovered in Malaysia Belongs to Fish-eating Spinosaurids

First Posted: Feb 25, 2014 02:09 AM EST

A team of Malaysian and Japanese paleontologists unveiled the first ever dinosaur fossil unearthed in Malaysia.

A team of international researchers discovered the dinosaur fossil teeth from the rural interiors of Pahang in Malaysia. This fossil belongs to spinosaurids, which were fish-eating carnivorous dinosaurs. This fossilized tooth sample is dubbed  UM10575.

The team included researchers from the University of Malaya and Waseda University and Kumamoto University, Japan.

"We have started our collaboration and carried out field expeditions to search for potential dinosaur deposits in Malaysia since Sep. 2012. Recently, we have successfully confirmed the presence of dinosaur remains (fossilized teeth) in Pahang," lead researcher, Dr. Masatoshi Sone, said in a news statement.

Prof. Ren Hirayama from Waseda University, specialist in reptile paleontology,  was the one to successfully identify the fossilized remains as a tooth of the spinosaurid. Measuring 23mm in length and 10 mm in width, the fossil UM10575 was discovered embedded in a sedimentary rock strata belonging to the later Mesozoic age (145-75 million years ago). The researchers targeted the interior of Peninsular Malaysia as sediments from the Jurassic-Cretaceous period are known to be widely distributed in this region.

The fish-eating dinosaur spinosaurid had crocodile like skull and conical teeth; they even had carinae with serrations. The surface of the tooth has well-marked coarse edges and fine sculptures that are typical to spinosaurid teeth.

Till date spinosaurid fossils have been unearthed in Australia, Europe, South America and Asia. The team hopes to get its hands on other large deposits of dinosaur fossils that still exist in Malaysia.

The team emphasized on the need to take immediate measures to protect and conserve the present fossil site and make it accessible only to qualified researchers. They called for protection of the site as it is an open site and there are concerns that the site may be damaged by lawless excavations by private fossil collectors.

They hope that this crucial discovery may add to further progress in paleontology study within the country and also help set up a Malaysian museum.

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