Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Proof giants walked among us humans?




Proof giants walked among us humans?

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A silk-cotton tree grows inside the Ta Prohm Temple, popular with tourists for its jungle atmosphere, in November 2007 near Siem Reap. VOISHMEL/AFP

Proof giants walked among us humans?

For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal, such as a rhino or a croc. But if they are of the dinosaur – the kind with broad plates on its backs and spiked tails – one thing scientists do agree on: It is not proof that the giant creature – which paleontologists believe became extinct 65 million years ago – and humans lived together simultaneously.

However, the opinion of experts is unlikely to change the mind of proponents of Creationism, the religious belief that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. According to a recent story in the British tabloid the Daily Star, Creationists have jumped on the theory that the bas relief carvings depict the prehistoric giants and point to it as proof that dinosaurs and humans lived at the same time, thus confirming their theory of the Earth’s age.

The Daily Star cited an excerpt from an article in UFO Sighting Footage, a periodical popular with Creationists, saying that “anything before 1800 AD that depicts a dinosaur or what we consider a dinosaur to look like shouldn’t exist.”

Atlas Obscura, an American online magazine that writes about curious travel destinations, was willing to at least entertain the Creationists’ theory.

“Maybe the carving is evidence that dinosaurs really did live on until much later than previously thought. (Creationists would certainly like to believe so),” the outlet wrote in an article on the carvings.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
For years experts have debated whether the carving in the centre depicted a dinosaur or a more contemporary beast. Meas Sovannaroth

“Perhaps here in the humid, ancient jungles of Southeast Asia, where the climate has remained largely unchanged since the dinosaurs’ days, giant reptiles lived on well into the human era – long enough to persist in the Khmer folk-memory.”

Meanwhile, Long Kosal, Apsara Authority spokesman, did not know exactly what the mysterious carvings depict.

“I really don’t know,” Kosal said. “There is no evidence that they were dinosaurs. They could be crocodiles or iguanas.”

However, Thuy Chanthoul, a professor of archaeologist at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said he believes they are depictions of dinosaurs, but not for the reasons Creationists have clung to the belief.

“We’ve known about [the carvings] for a very long time,” he said. “They were Stegosaurusi, an herbivore dinosaur, with faces similar to rhinoceroses’. From what I know, they were the only carving to be found so far.”

This carving, he added, proved that the people who built the temple understood the natural world and evolution.

“The builders of Angkor Wat were also scientists,” Chanthoul said. “Obviously, they knew how to cut stones and melt the steel … The ancient Khmer engineers practised real science.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A close-up of the carving that may depict a dinosaur. Meas Sovannaroth

MOST VIEWED

  • ADB says Kingdom to lose 390,000 jobs

    The Asian Development Bank (ADB) predicts Cambodia will suffer 390,000 job losses this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it congratulated the government for its response to the crisis and its cash transfer programme for the poor and vulnerable. Last Wednesday, the ADB approved a $250

  • Fish with human-like teeth makes splash

    An image of a fish of the family Balistidae with human-like features made its rounds on social media after a Twitter user snapped a photo of his catch in Malaysia. The original post has received 675 comments, 8,200 retweets and more than 14,000 likes as of Tuesday. Astonishing

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • Royal Group inks $35 million road deal on Koh Rong

    Royal Group Koh Rong Development Company and Sinohydro Corporation Limited reached a $35 million deal on Tuesday to build a 70km road on Koh Rong Island. The road will be 8m wide and is expected to take 16 months to complete, according to the plan approved by

  • Thai fence said to prevent illegal crossing

    Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provincial police say Thailand is not invading Cambodia after a series of social media posts about fences being built on the border raised alarms. Banteay Meanchey police chief Ath Khem said on Tuesday the information on social media on Sunday and

  • Nine more students from Saudi Covid-19 positive

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said preventing the spread of Covid-19 depends on each citizen. He expressed concern that the pandemic will continue for longer. Hun Sen said this after nine Cambodian students who recently returned to the Kingdom from Saudi Arabia were found to be

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post