Scientists have discovered a previously unknown alligator species with a distinct skull structure that thrived in ancient Thailand about 230,000 years ago, offering additional insights into the evolutionary history of Asian alligators, according to a new study.
The creature in question shares a close evolutionary relationship with the Chinese alligator, said the research published on Thursday in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.
The identification of this recently unearthed species was made possible by meticulously examining an almost complete fossilized skull, estimated to be younger than 230,000 years old.
The prehistoric species was found in the Ban Si Liam area of the Non Sung district of Nakhon Ratchasima Province, which is about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northeast of Bangkok. The chosen name for this species, Alligator munensis, pays homage to the nearby Mun River.
Subel Rai Bhandari for RFA