Thursday, January 05, 2006

"Thai Rice Field Yields Treasure Trove of Mammal Fossils"

"Thai Rice Field Yields Treasure Trove of Mammal Fossils." By Stefan Lovgren. National Geographic News, 03 Jan 2006.

Excerpts - "The fossil belonged to a stegodon, a prehistoric elephant-like animal that was once common in the region. The scientists soon began unearthing a treasure trove of fossils: skulls of a gavial (a crocodile-like reptile) and a spotted hyena, deer antlers, and a buffalo horn.

"I've never seen such a community of large mammals in one excavation," said Yaowalak [Yaowalak Chaimanee], who has since been studying the remains.

"During the cold periods of the Middle Pleistocene era [1.8 million years ago to 11,500 years ago], mammalian communities shifted southwards in Asia in a similar way to Europe and North America," Jaeger said.

As the climate changed and the forested area turned into floodplains, the animal species may have gone extinct."

But it was the location of the finding—a rice field—was what really intrigued her. Most important fossils in Thailand have been found in caves."

'Researchers may have to broaden their ongoing search for Homo erectus in Thailand beyond caves.'

Read complete article...

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