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   Undertoad  Sunday Dec 24 12:29 PM

December 24, 2006: Angkor Wat Stegosaurus

Featured on Fark Saturday was a Top Ten Cryptozoo Mystery Pix of 2006, but the one I found most interesting was this one.

Angkor Wat, in Cambodia, is a huge ancient temple, built in the 13th Century. It's the largest religious structure in the world, and the major cultural symbol for the country.

So the question is, how did a Stegosaurus end up in one of the carvings?

Unexplained Earth tells the story like it's a massive mystery:

One of the last sites I visited was the jungle temple of Ta Prohm, said to contain an animal carving unique in the reqion. Ta Prohm is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the area with an incredible blending of ancient architecture and aggressive jungle growth.

Fig trees weave in and out of the crumbling stones both dismantling the fragile construction and yet holding it together. Archeologists involved with restoring Ta Prohm are left with a difficult decision. Cutting away the trees will prevent further destruction of the site. However, their removal will undoubtedly cause damage to both the stonework and perhaps just as importantly, to the atmosphere of this sacred site.

After wandering through the temple and marveling at the twisting fig trees for over an hour, I finally located the glyph I was searching for near the exit to the complex. Before me, enclosed in a round circle, was a clear depiction of what could only be a stegosaurus.

The creature had a small neck and four short legs with a long tail. Along its humped back, a series of plates were clearly carved. As I stared in a wonder, a guide leading two American tourists approached the spot and casually asked them if they believed dinosaurs lived 800 years ago? He then proudly showed them the stegosaurus carving to their utter amazement.

Stylistically similar circular carvings can be found all over Ta Prohm, but none of them show this same creature.
There are other explanations. It could be a flat-out hoax. It could represent a version of rhinos that lived there at the time. The temples apparently contain mystical carvings of all kinds of weird unearthly things, so perhaps this is just another such thing, just out of context. It could be a highly stylized version of some other creature. Who knows, but I'm not buying the concept that dinos walked the earth in Cambodia 900 years ago!

Ibby  Sunday Dec 24 12:33 PM

Its at Angkor Wat?

I'll see it in a week and tell you what I think then.

Trilby  Sunday Dec 24 01:30 PM

Forget the stego--check out that evil monkey on the bottom.

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Dec 24 02:16 PM

Look for this spot, Ibram.

footfootfoot  Sunday Dec 24 03:07 PM

I hate to be a wet blanket, but did that carving not look exceptionally clean compared to the rest of AW?

Ibby  Sunday Dec 24 03:36 PM

I personally say them cambodians were better diggers than we're givin' 'em credit for.

Torrere  Sunday Dec 24 03:42 PM

not just that, but it also looks exceptionally red!

I think it was photoshopped!

OwenKL  Sunday Dec 24 04:29 PM

Looks to me like a boar in front of a palm tree. But what the heck, fossils were around when AW was built. Just because steggies were extinct by then is no reason to assume that learned people, at least, weren't aware that they had existed once. Aren't dragons generally assumed to be folk explanations for dinosaur fossils?

Trilby  Sunday Dec 24 05:28 PM

Originally Posted by OwenKL
Aren't dragons generally assumed to be folk explanations for dinosaur fossils?
Not according to my MegaNerd son. *

*so nerdy, wolf and xob AND glatt could have spawned him. But I know they didn't. I was there at the birth.

Karenv  Tuesday Dec 26 02:34 PM

Well maybe it is a Komodo dragon with the same kind of decoration around it's back that is around the whole circle.

You could be right about fossils. Or mystical creatures. Or maybe little stegos did live 800 years ago. I mean the birds are dinos, so maybe there was some kind of stego remnant.

Sundae  Wednesday Dec 27 10:27 AM

Originally Posted by Brianna
Forget the stego--check out that evil monkey on the bottom.
Evil monkeys in curlers, coming for me with machetes. I swear IoTD gives me something to add to my Fear List every week.

Q baby  Wednesday Dec 27 06:11 PM

What's with the lines above and below it, like it was a replacement stone, or it was taken out and cleaned, then put back in. ???

footfootfoot  Wednesday Dec 27 09:14 PM

yeah that thing has "college prank" written all over it...

CaliforniaMama  Wednesday Dec 27 09:41 PM

Just curious - Why do you all want to debunk this thing?

footfootfoot  Thursday Dec 28 10:44 PM

I would love nothing more than for Angkor Wat to have an exhaustive collection of carved cretaceous and jurassic fauna, but since I am wishing, I also desire the carvings to blend with their surroundings and appear natural. But that's just me, I'm uptight like that.

Ibby  Tuesday Jan 2 08:30 AM

Prepare for an Extra-Special EXCLUSIVE Cellar Special Report!
Check Local Listings, Not That It'll Do Any Good.

Clodfobble  Saturday Jan 6 12:28 PM

So where's our special report on the stegosaurus, Ibram?

Ibby  Saturday Jan 6 01:02 PM

I just got home today, hold yer horses! I'll upload everything in the morning and get it all together tomorrow, I hope.

Ibby  Sunday Jan 7 04:52 AM

Yes, it's there. Yes, I wrote that. Yes, it's got big 'ol spikes.

Oh look! It's got spikes too! It must be a curled-up stegosaurus!

Look, another one!

Hey, more!

It's just some animal with a Lotus motif behind it.

Thank you, thank you, really there's no need, calm down, you're a little starstruck ladies...

SPUCK  Sunday Jan 7 05:56 AM

Thanks you for that johnny-on-the-spot field report Ibram!

Pretty amazing really.

Griff  Sunday Jan 7 07:18 AM

The Cellar is officially everywhere doing everything!

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jan 7 07:21 AM

If you want to see smaller images and some interesting effects, check out this thread.

milkfish  Sunday Jan 7 01:12 PM

Isn't that Angelina Jolie in that other carving there?!! Oh, wait a minute...

whitjohn  Friday Jan 26 06:50 PM

Second Field Report

Inspired by Ibram's remarks and photo, I took the opportunity this past week to go to Siem Reap and have a look at that Stegosarus myself. I can report that the carving is NOT discolored and appears genuine. Much of Ta Prom has been devistated by the jungle and many carvings are colored by algae and minerals some even pink. The pink in the original posting was obviously intended to mark the carving so people could find it. The real carving is the same as other surrounding stones. Here's my pretty Chinese girlfriend showing you the stone.

xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jan 26 10:26 PM

Hey thanks, whitjohn. It's always nice to have another picture from Siem Reap, of classic beauty.

And she certainly is.

Your reply here?

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