Bangkok, Oct 18 (EFE).- A fossil found in Thailand 18 years ago was on Wednesday confirmed to be a species of alligator previously unknown to science and now extinct.
The fossil of the new species, named Alligator munensis, was discovered in 2005 and identified this year by a team of German and Thai scientists, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said.
The ministry exhibited the fossil at a press briefing in Bangkok attended by Kantapon Suraprasit, one of the Thai scientists involved in the study published in the journal “Nature.”
The Thai alligator, which lived in the Mun River about 230,000 years ago, could be related to the Alligator sinensis, which used to live in the Mekong and Yangtze rivers until the Tibetan Plateau rose and separated the two species.
The Alligator sinensis, still found in the Yangtze, and the Alligator mississipiensis, native to southeastern United States, are the only two surviving species.
The skull was found by residents of Non Sung district in Nakhon Ratchasima province, about 300 kilometers northeast of Bangkok.
According to the study in “Nature,” the Alligator munensis had a wide, short snout and larger teeth that it apparently could use to eat molluscs or animals with hard shells. EFE