Khonkaen

Phu Wiang Dinosaur Fossil Excavation Sites

   

Everyone who has a chance to visit the Phu Wiang Dinosaur Museum will be impressed with the stunning fossil replicas, fossil collections, exhibition and knowledge that are available in the Museum. Moreover, if you want to experience a closer investigation, you can drive to the excavation sites at Phu Wiang Natural Park that are close by. Here, there are a total of 9 excavation sites, 4 of which are open to visitors for a first hand investigation experience and close observation by simply walking into each dinosaur trace.

Excavation Site No. 1: Pratu Ti Ma Formation

This site is considered one of the most important dinosaur fossil discoveries in Thailand. Since 1982, the paleobiologist team has discovered more than 20 large bones of Sauropod dinosaurs in this area including a Sauropod’s right and left back femurs, ribs, neck bones, tail bones, cervical vertebrae columns, etc. From subsequent studies, it was confirmed that this newly discovered dinosaur species is the world’s newest Sauropod. Since this is the first dinosaur fossil found in Thailand, this new Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae was named after Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand.

In addition, seven sharp truncated teeth that contained vertical ridges were discovered here. From the research, these teeth elements were found to be the first specimen collected from another new found dinosaur species of the world, later named as Siamosaurus suteethorni. Many bone elements of the Compsognathus, the smallest “chicken-sized” carnivorous dinosaur, were also found.

Nowadays, this site is secured with a covered structure. Fossil replicas are exhibited inside this formation site with more detailed information presented for visitors.

Excavation Site No. 2: Chia Cave

In September 1987, six fossilised neck bones of a Sauropod were discovered. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn paid an official visit to the excavation site on 3 November, 1989 and HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana paid another official visit shortly thereafter, on 25 March, 1990.

Nowadays, an arch ceiling structure is built over the excavation site covering the hill vicinity.

Excavation Site No. 3: Pratu Ti Ma Creek

This site was discovered in May 1993 where large Sauropod fossils buried in sandstone were found. This site is now secured with a covered structure and displayed with a fossil map and informative signs for visitors.

Excavation Site No. 9: Hin Lat Yao

The fossilised dinosaur elements that were discovered in August 1993 are ischial bones and tail base of a large carnivorous dinosaur, with an estimated size of around 7 metres in length. From the research, these teeth elements were found to be the first specimens collected from a new found dinosaur species in the world; it was later named Siamotyrannus isanensis. The research has also anticipated that the Siamotyrannus isanensis might be the ancestor of the larger Tyrannosaurus rex.

All four excavation sites are connected together with a walking path that is 6 km long.

Once you park your vehicle at the parking facility, begin your adventure by walking to Site No. 3, and then continue up the hill to visit Sites No. 1, No. 2, and No. 9 accordingly.

Walking is the best way to explore this adventure and to get good exercise. However, if you prefer to go by car to the sites, you can take your car and park at the off-site parking areas close to Site No. 2 and No. 9. However, since it is a dirt road, especially for the very steep terrain along Site No. 2, it might prove difficult for regular front-wheel-drive vehicles to navigate the route.