KUALA TERENGGANU: THE fossilised remains of a carnivorous and two herbivorous dinosaurs, said to have roamed the country some 250 million years ago, have been found at Sungai Cicir within the Tasik Kenyir national park.
The surprise discovery during an expedition last month, which was led by geologists from the Department of Minerals and Geoscience, has opened the possibility of turning part of Tasik Kenyir and a sizeable area near the lake, where the fossils were discovered, into a geopark recognised by the Unesco Global Geoparks Networks.
The team of geologists, led by Professor Dr Mohd Shafee Leman of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, made the breakthrough when they found a fossilised tooth of an Iguanodon, which was embedded in a boulder at Sungai Cicir.
The Iguanodons were large, partly bipedal herbivorous dinosaurs of the early to mid-Cretaceous period. The species had thumbs that developed into spikes and had broad stiff tails.
Other than the fossilised tooth, the team also discovered fossilised footprints belonging to a few species of dinosaurs â€” believed to be that of the Iguanodon, Theropod and Sauropod.
Also unearthed near the Sungai Cicir site were the bones of a Sauropod and fossilised plants, including petrified wood.
The Theropods were carnivorous dinosaurs and were typically bipedal, while the Sauropods were huge quadrupedal herbivorous dinosaurs with long necks and tails, small heads, and massive limbs.
â€œWe are trying to identify the exact species of the dinosaurs and to conduct more geological research in the area.
â€œWe are confident of discovering more fossils,â€ Shafee said after Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman made the announcement about the discovery at Wisma Darul Iman here yesterday.
Academically, he said the discovery had opened a new dimension in the geological research fraternity in the country, as well as expanding the scope of geotourism and ecotourism in the state.
More importantly, he said the fossils, which had remained
untouched for millions of years, needed to be protected from poachers.
Meanwhile, Razif said the discovery would add value towards the realisation of a geopark in Tasik Kenyir.
â€œThe fossilised dinosaurs and plants, along with limestone caves like Gua Bewah and Gua Taat can be made into an attractive tourist package and help boost the tourism industry in Terengganu,â€ he said.-NST