Old bones yield new age of dinosaurs

Sunday, March 13, 2011

When the rains come and the rivers swell, giant bones tend to wash up in this remote rice-farming corner of Thailand.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.

"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."

Thailand is known for its beaches, great food and, more recently, its propensity for political protests, but not much for dinosaurs. It turns out that the creatures of prehistory, like the tourists of today, found certain parts of Thailand very hospitable.

Paleontologists say that the Khorat Plateau of northeastern Thailand was teeming with dinosaurs starting about 200 million years ago (Bangkok was under the sea at the time), and that the proof is in the frequency with which villagers find dinosaur bones and other fossils.

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

For more information related to dinosaurs, visit rareresource.com.


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