THE Angkor Temples They are one of the most important tourist destinations in Cambodia. They are known to have been built in the 12th and 13th centuries by the “Khmer devarāja”, or “god-kings”, being one of the religious complexes The most important in the world.
However, although they are visited by thousands of people every year, most miss one of their most intriguing mysteries. Hidden among its reliefs, hides the image of what seems to be, a dinosaur How did the ancient Cambodians come across this creature?
Dinosaur in the temples of Angkor
He stegosaurus inhabited the Jurassic period, a few years ago 150 million years. It is one of the most fascinating prehistoric creatures, especially because of the huge plates that covered its back to defend itself against predators.
But the strangest thing about this prehistoric monster is that it is depicted in a temple in the Angkor complex in Cambodia, in a bas-relief. This representation has caused many controversies within the scientific community, is it possible that these creatures existed until the 12th century?
The Ta Prohm, is a temple that is part of the religious complex, built by the Khmer Empire. Most of the buildings were transformed into Buddhist temples at the fall of the empire. However, it was not until the 19th century that these buildings became known in the West.
The relief shows what appears to be a dinosaur. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The person responsible for its construction was the king Jayavarman VIIat the end of the year 1100, and all connoisseurs wondered why this king, or the architects, they added a dinosaur in a small size the size of a hand.
Mysterious animal sculpture in the temples of Ta Prohm, Cambodia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
This relief is in a corner, almost hidden, inside the stone temple, covered with green jungle vegetation. The appearance of Ta Prohm, only adds more mystery to the riddle of the stegosaurus, since these 3 ton monsters, not only they lived millions of years beforebut they did it very far from Cambodia, in North America, and only a few remains have been found in Western Europe.
Could the ancient Khmers have encountered the Stegosaurus? Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Ta Prohm became popular, after tomb Raidera film based on the popular video game, by archaeologist Lara Croft, played by Angelina Joliewill record some scenes in the temple.
Consequently, several theories attempted to explain the existence of the sculpted Stegosaurus. The most popular within the scientific community is that it is a hoax and the relief is recent.
Likewise, other experts suggest that the ancient Jeremes could have unearthed the fossil of a specimen, thus discovering the type of creature it was and later capturing it on the wall.
Another of the most widespread theories mentions that in reality it is the representation of a cow or a rhinoceroswith a palm tree in the background. The palm fronds could be confused with the Stegosaurus plates.
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However, it’s likely that this monstrous being survived much later than previously thought, and the relief is proof of that. Some experts believe that the humid and ancient jungles of Southeast Asia, where the climate Hasn’t changed one iota since the JurassicIt is the perfect environment for giant reptiles to have lived on into the human era. The time it takes them to remain in the popular memory of the Khmers.
Beyond hypotheses and legends, the presence of this relief is curious to say the least: what other mysteries could we find within the temples of Angkor? Maybe we’ll never know…or maybe we’re just not ready to know.
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