By Noel Caballero

International researchers discovered fossils of a new dinosaur species in northeastern Thailand and - after receiving royal permission - named it in honor of one of the daughters of the monarch, Bhumibol Adulyadej.

"Sirindhorna khoratensis," a type of "Iguanadon," measured about two meters (6.5 feet) in height and six meters (19.5 feet) long, weighing one ton, was named in honor of Princess Sirindhorn - who turned 60 in 2015 and is said to have a strong interest in paleontology - and the province in which it was found.

The herbivore lived in the early Cretaceous Period some 120 million years ago and differs from other species of Iguanadon by having a long jaw that ends in a beak and a sharpened spur on each foot.

"We found 19 cranial pieces that were essential for determining that this is a new species of dinosaur," Prateung Jintasakul, the director of the Northeastern Institute for the Investigation of Petrified Wood and Mineral Resources, told EFE.

The first evidence of the new creature was found in 2007 during a collaborative venture between Thai researchers and paleontological experts from Japan's Fukui Museum.

After a long process of locating and unearthing as many fossils as possible, the remains were analyzed in a Japanese laboratory where, in comparing them with other specimens, scientists confirmed that the samples came from a heretofore unknown species.

Thailand is the Southeast Asian nation where the most fossils have been found, including dozens of ancestors of the Asian elephant and many examples of petrified wood. EFE

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