Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

A Dinosaur in the Middle Ages? The Stegosaur in Cambodia


Now, isn’t that so obviously a Stegosaur? But it’s a carving from the Ta Prohm temple, located in the Cambodian jungle and built c. 1186. The first Stegosaurus fossil was only found in Colorado, USA, in 1876. Stegosaurs were extinct some 140 million years ago. And the one in that carving is all fleshy. It was a living creature.

Creationists are all excited about the carving, “amazing evidence that dinosaurs and humans coexisted” (with many photos). Dinosaurs were actually all extinct millions of years before the first humans, and they only lived together in the Flintstones – unless, of course, you consider that some dinosaurs evolved into birds.

So, many skeptics doubt the carving is authentic, assuming it’s a modern restoration, perhaps like the Salamanca Astronaut. It’s the easy answer.

But apparently, it’s really there, and it’s not a modern addition. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman was intrigued. And wondered if “perhaps it is nothing more than a rhinoceros?”.

“Fish Head Salad”, makes a very convincing case that it is indeed just a rhino, with a decorative background: Modern Day Stegosaurus?


I side with the rhino interpretation.

Rock carvings of Dinosaurs among men are more famous in the Ica stones version. Creationists are also excited about them, including what seems like a great illustrated book cover.


Did I say that the book cover is amazing? Because it is.

Too bad they are not even honest mistakes like the Cambodian Rhino-Stegosaur. The Ica stones are just plain hoaxes. More info, in Portuguese, including photos of one of the makers of the Ica stones in O Legado dos Flintstones.

And let’s not mention the Acámbaro figures. [via Anomalist]

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Posted in Criptozoology,Fortean,Skepticism | 12 comments

12 Comments so far

  1. davidlrattigan (David L Rattigan) March 13th, 2009 2:17 pm

    Creationists hail new evidence that dinosaurs & humans co-existed: http://is.gd/n88Z

  2. yiannopoulos (Milo Yiannopoulos) March 13th, 2009 2:18 pm

    RT @davidlrattigan: Creationists hail new evidence that dinosaurs & humans co-existed: http://is.gd/n88Z #counterknowledge

  3. katschy March 15th, 2009 12:54 pm

    That cover is fabulous. But the dude riding a bridled dinosaur is hilarious and reminds me of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, and the raptor banditos therein. Love it.

  4. dmduncan March 16th, 2009 7:45 pm

    Personally, I’m more comfortable with the “I don’t know” answer when I don’t know the answer.

    But sure, if you digitally remove the plates on the back, then it looks like a rhinoceros. That’s also cheating. You can pretty much get any result you want when you are allowed to play with the data.

  5. Mori March 16th, 2009 9:32 pm

    Duncan, the other reliefs also have motifs in the background that don’t relate to the animal portrayed. Interpreting those plates as part of the animal would make that relief the only one without those decorations.

    So, a rhino interpretation is actually more plausible, even if you ignore the fact that rhinos, contrary to Stegosaurs, were more than plausibly seen by the original artist.

  6. dmduncan March 17th, 2009 7:16 pm

    “…the other reliefs also have motifs in the background that don’t relate to the animal portrayed.”

    The Fish Head Salad site shows one other picture, not as sharp, and it isn’t clear to me what I’m looking at in it.

    Not knowing what those things are on the back of the animal doesn’t make the stegosaur interpretation true by default. I don’t know means I don’t know. Probably, an archeologist intimate with that particular site does, however.

  7. ilsita March 19th, 2009 3:33 am

    If you take the plates off its back it looks like a triceratops, with those triceratopsy horns on its head (don’t tell the xtianists) — see those horns on its head? — but without the telltale frill. Stegasaurs have tiny pointy heads and no horns. So that can’t be right. Or it could be a rinoceros without its nose horns which give it its name. Some people are saying that its a chameleon, which is crazy — why would they make a chameleon’s tale look so lame and its legs so damn fat?

    Or maybe it’s just a water buffalo in the sun? Do a google image search on cambodian water buffalo, and I think that you might be convinced. Well, here, check it out: www worldofstock com/slides/PCH1754.jpg: the horns, the body shape, the tail… it’s all there.

    What I want to know is what the heck is that crazy sea creature surrounding it. Perhaps Cambodia is really Atlantis?

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  9. OOps April 19th, 2010 12:03 am

    “The first Stegosaurus fossil was only found in Colorado, USA, in 1876.”

    This was the first stego fossil RECOGNIZED by modern science – that does not mean that it was the first ever seen by human eyes. Fossils have been eroding out of the ground for billions of years (ever since life first began), and it perfectly plausible that a stego fossil could have been exposed to the surface where a Cambodian could have seen it. Where do you think the myths of dragons originated?

    But it’s probably a rhino.

  10. Jess August 17th, 2010 1:15 am

    I understand your obvious concern that the picture is that of a rinocerous, but considering it is done in relief, your theory is destroyed. That’s a stegasorus, for sure. The point of relief is to make the background and the foreground seperate. So the origional artist definitely wanted the stegs and the body to be reconed as one. Concerning your theory that all of life arose on it’s own, have you looked at the evidence. The majority of microbologists now admit that life arising by chance in some primordial sea is not only implausible, but obserd. One doens’t need to start with proving that dinasours and man existed together to make creationism real, when the entire foundation upon which evolutionary beliefs are built has been completely destoryed as of late. I don’t know, what do you think?

  11. JohnS December 26th, 2010 3:12 am

    I’m a young-Earth creationist, and I’ll admit that the Ica stones are hoaxes, but here’s what I find funny;

    Skeptics usually will laugh at how “believers” *in mysteries, that is, not religion* will go to incredible lengths to “prove” that something mundane is actually something incredible.

    And yet skeptics themselves will do the same, albeit to prove the incredible to be something mundane.

    Just like what you guys did there with that stegosaur picture. “Oh, well, the plates are just a decorative background…lessee…and shorten the tail there…add a little bit of this…and VOILA! A rhino!”

    We’re all entitled to our opinions, but come on, isn’t that really stretching it to “prove” that it’s not a dinosaur?

  12. Jangmi September 18th, 2011 6:12 am

    It’s obviously a rhino. The head looks nothing like a lizard. Trust me. I am a teacher and I am teaching my children about mammalian characteristics. The head is shaped like a mammal. Not a lizard. The tail is mammalian. Not long like a lizard. And for god sakes, where are the steg’s pointy spines on its tail? I suppose objecting to the belief that this is a dinosaur threatens your belief in Christian Fundamentalism. You must feel that you must prove the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs in order to prove that God exists. That’s pretty sad.

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