A fossil found in early 2021 in Koh Kong province’s Mondul Seima district has been identified as the bones of a dinosaur, making it the first-ever dinosaur fossil ever found in Cambodia with official scientific confirmation.

The Ministry of Environment and three French experts have announced that they plan to excavate the fossil in November for further study.

Ministry officials said in March last year that the fossil was 70cm long and 20cm wide and was in a geological strata that indicated its age was in the region of 65 to 190 million years old.

Environment minister Say Samal confirmed on October 27 that the fossil was found in Koh Por village of the district’s Bak Khlang commune.

Lim Vanchan, an archaeologist from the heritage department under the ministry’s General Directorate of Local Communities, told The Post on October 27 that when the fossil was first found in March last year, officials immediately suspected that it was dinosaur fossil due to its size.

He said that after the discovery, its images were presented at an international conference in November last year with the participation of experts from the US, France and Thailand who all acknowledged that it was a dinosaur fossil.

Vanchan noted that the three French paleontologists who made the presentation last year will come to Cambodia on November 17 this year to help with consultations on the fossil and on conducting further research.

The environment ministry plans to fully unearth the bone that is currently visible and excavate an area of 25sqm around it to see whether other bones are present there.

“If we don’t see any other bones, we will just keep the bone we have already found and preserve it at the ministry as we don’t have a ‘nature museum’ like the Smithsonian in the US or Singapore’s Lee Kong Chian Museum here yet,” he said.

According to Vanchan, the first fossil officially found in Cambodia was in 2017, but most fossils discovered in the Kingdom have been of sea creatures or fossilised wood, which has been found at 43 different sites to date.