In our ongoing celebration of International Dinosaur Month, SYFY WIRE is spanning the globe to dig up the freshest news in the paleontology world to see what remarkable discoveries are being made in the field.
The latest unearthing comes from Thailand as the isolated fossil remains of a rare allosauroid theropod from the Lower Cretaceous Khok Kruat Formation, officially named Siamraptor suwati, has been revealed in a new study published last week in the online journal PLOS ONE.
The ambitious research project was led by Duangsuda Chokchaloemwong of Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Thailand and his fellow colleagues, and confirms the existence of a new predatory dinosaur belonging to a savage group of prehistoric beasts known as carcharodontosaurs, which literally translates to "shark-toothed lizards."
Carcharodontosaurs were a thriving, widespread group of dominant serrated-tooth dinosaurs that roamed the wilds during the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods and were abundant on multiple continents. This does, however, mark the very first carcharodontosaurs ever found in Southeast Asia, and the fossils — including Early Cretaceous remains of the skull, backbone, limbs, and hips of at least four individual dinosaurs — represent a previously undiscovered genus and species of meat-eating apex predator.
Chokchaloemwong and his team made these conclusions based on morphology comparisons with catalogued specimens of known species and concluded that this was indeed something extraordinary.
Siamraptor represents a definite evolutionary split in the development and dissemination of carcharodontosaurs, proving beyond a doubt that this category of carnivorous dinosaurs had already migrated to three continents by the Early Cretaceous period.
In its prime some 115 million years ago, Siamraptor would have been roughly the size of a Greyhound bus at nearly 30-feet long and tipping the scales at over 3.5 tons. Its jagged teeth measured up to 8 inches each, perfect for munching on a menu of fleshy primeval creatures. Bon Appetit!