DINOSAURS. Ever since we first stumbled across their fossils, the remains of these extinct animals have captivated both our imagination and our desire to learn more about the Earth's past and the life it once held.
Generally, it is common to associate the discovery of dinosaur remains with more far-flung parts of the world like the Gobi Desert of China or the Badlands of the United States and not our very own soil.
So with that said, a question has been asked from time to time - did dinosaurs ever exist in what is now Malaysia?
Yes, Malaysia once had dinosaurs.This was established in a specimen unearthed in Pahang in the mid-2010s by a Universiti Malaya team led by its Geology Department's Associate Prof Dr Masatoshi Sone.
Sone - who led the expeditions that began in September 2012 - announced the discovery of a dinosaur tooth in February 2014, saying it is from a spinosauridae dinosaur.
He added that it is believed to be from the late Mesozoic era and most likely from the Cretaceous period.
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time that is also called the age of reptiles, and it spans a period from about 252 million to 66 million years ago.
The Cretaceous is defined as the period between 145 million and 75 million years ago, and it is the last period of the Mesozoic era, following the Jurassic and ending with the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Spinosauridae are a family of carnivorous dinosaurs characterised by long crocodile-like skulls and tiny conical teeth; translated from Latin, the term “spinosauridae” means "spined lizards".
Spinosauridae are theropods or “lizard-hipped”, which means that they walked in a similar manner to dinosaurs ranging from the crow-sized Microraptor to the huge Tyrannosaurus rex, which weighed six tonnes or more.
Aside from the discovery of the spinosauridae remains, the tooth of another dinosaur was found in Pahang in November 2014 by Sone and his team.
This time, what was found was a tooth from a herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaur of the Ornithischian order.
The other dinosaur tooth was about 13mm long and 10.5mm wide in preserved dimensions, and was discovered in a sedimentary rock formation in Pahang which dates back to the Cretaceous period.
It was found not far from where the first announced dinosaur fossil was discovered in February the same year.
The Ornithischian order - which includes the famous three-horned Triceratops - refers to dinosaurs that have hips similar to those found on birds, hence the name which means “bird-hipped” when translated from Latin.
On the finds, Sone said they imply "that there was an established ecosystem in Peninsular Malaysia during the Cretaceous period”.
So with that said, the lands that would one day be Malaysia were teeming with life in the distant past - life that clearly includes dinosaurs.