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Found! 150-million-year-old fish fossil

dpa logodpa 5/05/2017

A fossil found in Thailand 20 years ago has been confirmed to be a news species of fish dating back 150 million years.

A new fossilised fish species dating back 150 million years has been discovered in north-east Thailand - but it's taken researchers two decades to realise it.

The fish fossil, found to be a new species of freshwater fish from the late Jurassic period to early Cretaceous period, has been named Khoratichthys gibbus by a group of Thai and Swiss researchers conducting the study.

'Khorat' is a nickname of Nakhon Ratchasima province, 260 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, where the fossil was discovered 20 years ago.

The fossil was found in the middle of two rock slabs by workers digging a pond in Nakhon Ratchasima and was handed over to Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University in 1997.

However, due to a lack of researchers at the university, a study on the fossil began 17 years later when Lionel Cavin, a fish fossil expert from Switzerland joined two Thai researchers.

The Khoratichthys gibbus is a 36-centimetre long bony fish with a distinctive hump at the back of the neck, according to Uthumporn Deesri, one of the researchers.

Upon further study of the fish's features, the new species was found to be the first group, or those at the earliest stage of evolution, of the entire alligator gar group, Uthomporn said.

The fossil also serves as evidence of the diversity of freshwater fish found in the north and north-east of the country, she added.

Prior to this discovery, other new fish species from the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous period had been found by Cavin and his team in north-east Thailand since 2003.

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