Mahasarakham Uni finds oldest asian box turtle fossil in the world

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MAHASARAKHAM, 30th May 2013 Mahasarakham University has found the oldest Asian box turtle fossil in the world. The turtle is believed to be of the specimen that existed in Thailand 12 million years ago. 

The discovery was made at a coal mine in Chiang Muan district, Phayao privince by Ms.Wilailuck Naksri, a Paleontology Ph.D student at the faculty of Science, Mahasarakham University who studies turtle fossils in Phayao province.

She said the discovery helped reveal the evolution and reproduction secrets of the Asian box turtles in Asia. These turtles are found only in Asia and are believed to have originated in Thailand 12 million years ago in the mid Miocene period.

This newly found turtle fossil will be named Cuora Chiangmuanensis. It is the fossil of the oldest fresh water turtle that has ever been found, which belongs to the same family as the Asian box turtle.

According to Dr. Supachai Samappito, Chancellor of Mahasarakham University, given Mahasarakham is the center of the North-Eastern Thailand region and is an area that has a high rate of fossil discovery, it is suitable to have a research institution in the field of Paleontology established in the province. He also recommended the development of more local personnel with skills in this field, as fossils are important resources in the North-Eastern region. The University has created a website for virtual education, where browsers can check out the museum and gain knowledge from their computer or smart phone screens at www.vkp.msu.ac.th