KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A dinosaur tooth found in Malaysia is at least 140 million years old and belongs to a new species within the “bird-hipped” Ornithischian order, researchers said Thursday.
While still unsure of the exact species of dinosaur, lead researcher Masatoshi Sone from the University of Malaya said the discovery means “it is plausible that large dinosaur fossil deposits still remain in Malaysia”.
“We started the programme to look for dinosaur fossils two years ago. We are very excited to have found the tooth of the dinosaurian order called Ornithischian in central Pahang state” last year, he said.
Researchers from Japan’s Waseda University and Kumamoto University also took part in the project.
Ornithischian, or “bird-hipped”, is a major group comprised of herbivous dinosaurs such as triceratops. The dinosaur would have been about as big as a horse, Sone said.
The darkened tooth fossil – 13-mm-long (0.5-inches) and 10.5-mm-wide – was discovered in a sedimentary rock formation by a team of Malaysian and Japanese palaeontologists.
It was found close to where the first Malaysian dinosaur fossil, estimated to be at least 75 million years old, was discovered in 2012.
That fossil was found to belong to a fish-eating predator belonging to the family of dinosaur known as Spinosaurid, believed to be semi-aquatic.
The exact location of the discoveries is being kept secret in order to preserve it.