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Cambodian Stegosaur?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 11th, 2009

Some things have a way of coming back and recycling themselves. I first wrote about the carved temple “Stegosaur in Cambodia?” here at Cryptomundo on February 5th, 2006.

I see the story is making the rounds, anew, in March 2009.

So, below, I’ll go ahead and post a repeat of the three-year-old item (some of the links may not be any good today):

What real evidence exists for dinosaurs having survived into more contemporary times? What are we to make of the carving of a Stegosaur (Stegosaur stenops) on an ancient Cambodian temple at Angkor Wat?

Cambodian Dinosaur

Click image for full-size version

Cambodian Dinosaur

This carving is now being shown to tourists, proclaiming it is a dinosaur. Such a situation, thusfar, has only caused a few comments online, at such locations as the Unexplained Earth webpage last summer, as well as other sites.

But all this appears to be changing, with more and more attention to this item. For example, there is new talk of this on the Interactive Bible site, giving this background to the location:

The magnificent jungle temples of Cambodia were produced by the Khmer civilization, beginning as early as the eighth and extending through the fourteenth century A.D. One of, if not the greatest monarchs and monument builders of this empire was Jayavarman VII, crowned supreme king in 1181. Portrait statues, depicting him meditating in the fashion of Buddha, have been found throughout the region. An excellent example can be seen in the National Museum Of Cambodia in Phnom Pehn. He built the beautiful temple monastery Ta Prohm in honor of his mother, dedicating it in 1186.

These awesome temples were rediscovered by Portuguese adventurers and Catholic missionaries in the 16th century and many were restored in 19th and 20th centuries. Ta Prohm, one of the most picturesque, was left in its natural state. It recently gained international attention as the setting for the first Laura Croft movie.

It has been on Ta Prohm, which abounds with carvings of all sorts of local animals, where a carving of a Stegosaur has been discovered.

Cambodian Dinosaur

Click image for full-size version

How could this have happened?

Did the prop crew of the Laura Croft movie pull off a prank, and restore the temple, placing onto this wall a dinosaur facade? If you will note, on the photos, the panel seems to be of a lighter shade of gray. Is this due to it being kept cleaner for tourists, or because this is a newly added panel?

Perhaps it is nothing more than a rhinoceros? There is speculation that at one time or another Cambodia had Indian, Javan, and Sumatran rhinos living in the country.

Or have Stegosaurs roamed Cambodia, less than 1000 years ago and Angkor’s master artists created a representation of one, on a temple?

How certain religious groups may wish to use this material to promote their belief systems is of no concern to me, as long as what they are pointing out is precise and without fakery. In this case, I am sincerely interested in securing tangible, scientific evidence via cultural artifacts of the rather unbelievable thought of dinosaur survival, if it exists. If it is a hoax, I want to pursue that to that end result, too.

Cambodian Dinosaur

Click image for full-size version

What do you think?

In 2006, over forty comments raged back and forth between why it looked or didn’t look like a dinosaur, to ones about how it looked like a Borneo rhinoceros against a big-leafed backdrop or didn’t look like a rhino.

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


48 Responses to “Cambodian Stegosaur?”

  1. MountDesertIslander responds:

    It’s hard to dispute the assertion that the image represents a Stegosaurus. It would be hard to make a case for anything else.

    However, the light colored surface of the stone is a bit more than suspicious. To my mind it is a bit too much to chalk up to coincidence that the stone not matching the rest of the temple has upon it the most important cryptozoological ( is that even a word) inscription in the complex.

    Does anyone know if there are any pictures of the temple pre-dating the mid-80′s? Those would go a long way towards dispelling any claims of film company inspired fraud.

  2. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    looks stegosaur to me… rhinos don’t have planks on their backs.. Remember all the Living Fossils found. these could be one of them.. Plus the African Stegosaur or Kentrosaur (however you spell it).

  3. cryptidsrus responds:

    Looks like a stegosaurus to me, Loren. I’ll be honest.

    Although the head does remind one of a rhino. A “Rhinosaurus,” maybe???

    Questions:
    Any information as to what that carving and others like are supposed to represent? Gods, maybe?
    If the temple was built in 1186, are there any records of sightings of creatures of like that at the time?
    Do we know if this is simply a representation of a dinosaur-like creature based on oral or historical tradition of something like that seen around that time or maybe centuries earlier? Points to ponder.

  4. gavinf responds:

    My vote is stegosaur. I don’t accept the hoax idea for a couple of reasons. Why hoax a stegosaurus? It seems to me that there are other dinosaurs more likely to draw attention? Is there any proof of vandalizing the temple to change the carving to look like a stegosaur?
    The creature in the carving is represented as simply a normal animal. There appears to be no stylization or mythical aspect.
    This is a representation of something seen. And even though a fossilized skeleton could have been referenced, they found an entire skeleton?
    I really feel they carved a real, living creature.

  5. Redrose999 responds:

    I’m apt to agree with the Rhino against the leaf backdrop. The head and “dermal” Plates on it’s back are off. Even if it is symbolic and stylized they would have a “impression” of the proper shapes.

    As an art major I did notice the carving of the “rhino” with the leaves would give it a background, where the other carvings don’t seem to have that kind of detail as back ground. Rather the detail comes off the actually subject of the carving. However, I would need to see close ups of all the stone carvings to be certain.

  6. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    Loren – While it isn’t clear cut for me as to whether it is a dinosaur or a rhino, it is very interesting though. I can’t really tell what it is myself, but would certainly love to hear the opinions of others who are more familiar with either rhinos or dinosaurs.

    If it turns out to be a dinosaur, and also turns out to be an original panel, that would be one hell of a discovery and an eye-opener for many.

    What do you think is depicted in the carving Loren? If you have an opinion either way I’d just like to know what your thoughts are. It sounds like you may be leaning toward Stegosaur by the wording of the end of the article? Can you point out what you see in the carving that makes you think that, if that is the case?

  7. Victory33 responds:

    Dinosuar Depictions

    This is a site which discusses a lot of evidence found of dinosaur depiction’s from past, including the one you mention. Of course the site has somewhat of a religious agenda, but science also has an agenda to keep it’s main explanation for human life (science book evolution) intact. So it becomes hard to know what to trust and in what context it should be taken. Scientists are just as quick to devalue this evidence as the religious breed are to claim it as proof.

    You could claim the ancient people found bones of million year old dinosaurs and just made replicas and depictions based on that. But some drawing and carvings are far too accurate for the time, and would require an almost perfect collection of the bones to recreate such an image.

    I find that I have a hard time believing the “facts” concluded from scientific evidence, ever since they were off about 35 million years with the Coelacanth’s extinction.

  8. Breck responds:

    Looks more like a chameleon to me.

  9. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    gavinf i agree with you..

    it looks real..

  10. marcodufour responds:

    My friend worked on the Lara Croft films and said that he thinks it was there when they first got there.

  11. Morgoth responds:

    Look at the decorative motif outside the circles, also down to the left. The motif is exactly like the dinosaur fins.

    This is just a pig-like animal with that motif filled in on the background.

    Sorry to ruin all the fun…

  12. fossilhunter responds:

    Greetings All!
    I found an interesting opinion at the fishheadsalad website. I’d like to see how realistic the depictions of the other animals, people, gods etc are. P. T. Barnum wasn’t the only person who thought that the gullible will always be with us. At Borobudur in Indonesia, I bought a ceremonial-looking sword that a friend later told me was made from a car leaf-spring! One person’s sacred temple is another person’s money maker!

  13. red_pill_junkie responds:

    My answer is: who knows?

    It might be a timid answer, but it’s very difficult to know what the ancient artist was intending to depict.

    This story reminded of the time I visited Tulum with my cousins—BTW if you have the chance, go and visit this wonderful place, one of the most beautiful archeological sites in all Mexico.

    Anyway, I remember that during our tour the guide showed our group some ‘frisos‘ and mural paintings in one of the temples (the one in honor of the ‘descending god’). I’ve located this Google book where there’s an illustration of that mural painting (it’s in page 147):

    Now look to the central part of the illustration, and locate the middle row of this area. It is divided in two by some kind of ‘knot’ formed by two ‘strings’. Well, to the left of this ‘knot’ there’s a figure hanged upside down, and now look at the next figure to the left…

    …What does it look like to you?

    It’s some figure of a deity mounted in some kind of animal, right? By now, some of you would say ‘a rider mounting a horse’, right?

    Well, the problem is that Tulum’s buildings were probably erected between 1200 and 1450 A.D. (that’s 40 years before Columbus ‘officially’ discovered America). And although Tulum still had inhabitants after the Spanish conquest, it is difficult to know if those paintings adorning the temple are from that time.

    Because if they aren’t… how do we explain them?

    Premonitory visions?

    Vikings?

    Templars?

    I still remember how the Tulum guides would easily explain the figure as a horse… and the descending god as one of Von Däniken ‘ancient astronauts’. ;-)

    The thing is, it’s very difficult to explain these representations without the proper context. We all make fun of archeologists for explaining every weird thing they find as ‘mythological’, but we shouldn’t also fall in the trap of interpreting the past through our own modern bias.

  14. LordBalto responds:

    Cambodian pig with background.

    Look at the ears. Look at the snout. It’s all wrong for a stegosaur. If it weren’t for the so-called plates, no one would think it was anything else.

  15. kittenz responds:

    At first glance it looks like a stegosaur. But I’m a person who has ben a paleontology fanatic since about age four, so I’m looking at it with bias.

    I would not be a bit surprised to learn that it’s a hoax. That panel looks much less weathered than the other designs. Why hoax a stegosaur? Why hoax anything? There are any number of reasons that people perpetrate hoaxes. Some people will create hoaxes just to sit back and chuckle over the commotion.

    If it’s not a hoax, it’s probably a reprsentation of local wildlife; maybe a rhino or a pig of some kind.

  16. graybear responds:

    As to why hoax a Stegosaur, it could be a bit of an homage. In the original King Kong, Jack Driscoll mentions, while looking for the first time upon Kong’s wall, that he had been up to Angkor once and that was bigger than the wall. Also, the first dinosaur that was killed by the rescue party looking for Ann Darrow was a Stegosaur.
    That having been said, to me the image looks like a pig, or possibly a rhino, standing in front of a curtain of leaves, possibly palm fronds.

  17. sundevit responds:

    While the plates on the back might fool some in stegosaur direction I hardly believe it actually resembles one. Not only is the head way (!) too big for a stegosaurus (look up stegosaurus illustrations or skeletons, they had tiny heads on massive bodies), it also looks very rhino-ish or tapir-ish to me (both in the relation to the body and in its features). Also, if you look at the other carvings, they all have pretty strong background details mixing into the foreground, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this carving in question is, as mentioned before, a rhino or Malayan tapir against some big leafs.

    My strongest reason for VETOing stegosaur is a much simpler one: if there truly would have been an impressive creature such as the stegosaur around at the time of the khmer people, it would have been all over their culture and art! The same way the kmehr presented elephants, monkeys and tigers in every second sculpture or carving, you can bet that stegosaurs would be among them at the same rate. Since there aren’t any besides that one misleading little carving is proof enough that there weren’t any. Case closed!

  18. tropicalwolf responds:

    {Best Desperate Voice}

    “Darn you, Morgoth! You beat me to it!”

    {Regular Voice}

    Yep, the repeated “leaf motif” gets my vote.

  19. Sune responds:

    The head looks very rhino to me and the stego-plates on top of it seem to serve an ornamental purpose and could very well be nothing but that and should not be interpreted as being part of the animal. Only thing that really reminds me of a stegosaurus is the tail, not a rhino-tail, but again, it may look like this for ornamental purposes.

    Sad thing is that three rhino species once lived in this country, but now they are almost as cryptid there as a stegosaurus. But how exiting would it not be if one of them still lives somewhere in the jungle there.

  20. Wiseman responds:

    What about this; some guy in the past found parts of a stegosaur skeleton, thought it was a mystical beast who looked like a rhino, and deified it?

    It’s just one of my guesses though.

  21. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Here’s a crazy idea: Why not ask the people who actually know Khmer iconography? I have seen some websites where the author sees an icon of the Transfiguration that he claims is really “Jesus in a rocket ship” (such as, for example, here).
    If you’re looking for dinosaurs or UFOs in old artwork, it really helps to have a total ignorance of the religious, cultural, and artistic context!

  22. Ceroill responds:

    I seem to recall a speculation somewhere that this was a bit of fun by a stoneworker during a restoration stint. I tend to agree that the head is not right for a stego, though. It’s so easy to over interpret.

  23. MattSouth responds:

    I think the “leaf background” idea is unlikely, but the hoax theory is almost silly. Since it’s a 3-D carving, it is apparently not a fake carved into the old rock. The only way to replace the block would be to somehow jack up the whole column and slide it out. If we’re going to suggest that, let’s just say aliens did it. :-) Also, one website has quotes from Claude Jacques about the existence of the alleged stegosaur, and he’s apparently an expert who’s been studying Angkor for decades, so he’d have noticed if it was something new. So, no, King Kong fans or Tomb Raider crews did not put it there. Besides, the stones require incredible skill to carve (see the Wikipedia article on Angkor Wat, near the bottom). If you see a photograph from the other side of the column, it becomes apparent why the possible stegosaur looks lighter. The whole block of stone it and three other carvings are on is of a slightly lighter colored rock than above. Also, the rock below is lighter than the ones above, but of a slightly different shade than the famous one. It looks like there is a lot of variation in rock color in Angkor. For example (if I get this link down right, see and

    Anyway, it’s not a great, scientifically accurate picture of a stegosaur from what we know of the fossils (further evidence against a hoax), but it does look kind of like a stylized picture of one. It is a valid argument that the carving indicates that people might have seen something like a living stegosaur.

    All that said, if you want to say the carving is not a stegosaur, fine. But it is completely unreasonable to claim it is a hoax.

  24. MattSouth responds:

    Well, here are the links that didn’t work for the different colored rocks:
    http://atchikochi.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/img_6869.jpg
    http://www.mongabay.com/images/pictures/wall_figurines_00.html

  25. Cryptoraptor responds:

    Stegosaurus have tiny heads and “spikes” on a long tail.

    Just like Morgorth said in a previous post the “plates” look like the decorative motif around all the circles in general.

  26. kittenz responds:

    “But it is completely unreasonable to claim it is a hoax.”

    —- People thought that about Piltdown Man for forty years …

  27. jedimaster5000 responds:

    It is obviously real. If it is not, then that means the sculptors are also archaeologists, and obviously that means they found a skeleton of a stegosaurus. But I guess that’s not possible, since shovels did not exist back then, or did they?

  28. ukulelemike responds:

    Piltdown man was a hoax, but only because someone found an actual item and misinterpreted it. This cannot be the hoax many claim, because it would take a complete re-working of the tmple structure, a place heavily guarded against that very thing, as it is still considered a holy site.

    I disagree with the leaf motif, because none of the other carvings have such. The motif around the frame of the carvings is similar, but, when viewed in the close-up, are consistently very different.

    As for Stegosaurs haveing very small heads, that is in the opinion of the people who reconstruct what they believe it looked like, from the fossils: they may well have had a different muscular structure which would make the head appear larger, when considering muscle and fat around the bone-for an animal with a large body and small skull close to the ground, it would make sense to have a thicker neck and head for protection. If someone had seen one alive, it may have looked very different than we believe it to have. Jurassic parkwas a great movie, but it’s still all artistic interpretation. Like Piltdown man.

    So, IS it a stegosaurus? Who knows? A relative, perhaps? We are always finding new examples of very large extinct animals, and in a place like that, there may have been a relative to the steg that we haven’t found. We don’t know it all, yet.

  29. shumway10973 responds:

    It looks like a dino or a rhino with plates down the back and a tail.

  30. shumway10973 responds:

    then again, what’s to say that the dinos we have bones of were the only dinos? That could be a cousin to the Stegosaurus.

  31. Viergacht responds:

    Stegosaurs weren’t found in Cambodia, and only the American stegosaurs had rows of big plates like that (jungles in general are a terrible place to look for fossils) so it’s highly unlikely it was inspired by bones. Also, it’s easy for a coelocanth to hide in the vastness of the ocean, where it wouldn’t be leaving fossils we could find easily for the interim period, much harder for a several-ton animal to hide on land especially when it hasn’t been leaving fossils since the end of the Jurassic. That argument isn’t a very good one. It makes cryptozoology enthusiasts look stupid when they start proclaiming cryptids are surviving prehistoric animals just because there’s a slight, vague resemblance.

  32. Cryptoraptor responds:

    The question of hoax shouldn’t enter into the equation.

    It’s most likely real, it’s just that the “plates” are part of the motif. In other words, the fact that it happens to look like a stegosaurus is meaningless. It’s just coincidental.

    This debate is nonsense. Whoever sculpted that had no idea what a stegosaurus was.

  33. sundevit responds:

    Viergacht: Couldn’t agree more. The thing that seperates cryptozoology from regular (scientific) zoology (or palaeontology, if you will) is that the first mentioned attracts an unproportional share of fanboys, hobbyists and enthusiasts with no scientific education — and sometimes very little common sense. Sometimes I’m astounded by the naive conclusions in the comments here on cryptomundo.com, especially compared to other science blogs (the one of Darren Naish, for example). And yes, that doesn’t shed a good light on cryptozoology itself. Sad but true.

  34. Loren Coleman responds:

    Of course, please consider this…I could heavily edit, delete, or moderate threads like this to make them appear more “scientific” and “informed” like some blogs do to make them read more intellectually.

    But sometimes, it is good to see the “uninformed,” “skeptical,” “true believers,” and “informed” all mix it up, isn’t it? After all, there is “reality” in that too.

  35. Cryptoraptor responds:

    Those with gullible and wishful natures are a hefty part of the interest base.

  36. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    Loren – I agree with that 100%. I like cryptomundo just the way it is and I enjoy the freedom to comment on subjects that I may not be well educated in. I have a scientific background as an applied scientist, but that certainly doesn’t make me an expert on everything, or really anything in particular with regards to cryptozoology.

    And I enjoy the commentary from everyone, no matter what background, because I learn from everyone here from time to time and why would you try to exclude anyone that has the potential to contribute?

    I look at it this way: There is quite a bit of hard work to be done here, and we need as may hands (or minds) as we can to get it done.

  37. planettom responds:

    I’m leaning towards a pig with a decorative background.

  38. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Let’s be naughty and play both sides:

    *Argument against this being a stegosaur: if you look at the spiral ribbon that frames the carving—and in fact, all the carvings— you can plainly see the same kind of leafs that are also found in the arched back of this being. Which makes a strong case this is only a stylized decorative motif. That would make us conclude the animal is a rhino.

    *Argument in favor of this being a stegosaur: Yes, the animal depicted doesn’t look like the images of stegosaurs in our text books. But that’s because those images are the result of countless hours of fossil study; the paleontologists have had plenty of time to make a very educated guess of how an stegosaur looked like. But what if you have a very brief encounter with a being that is partially hidden by the jungle canopy, or is so aggressive that it attacks you and force you to escape quickly? I’ll bet that under those conditions you wouldn’t have a very elaborate mental image of what you saw. And if you relate your experience to a third party, that other person would most likely have an even more vague mental image of the animal. Remember how silly and inaccurate the first drawings of giraffes done by European artists were?

    Ain’t I a stinker? :-P

  39. kittenz responds:

    I’m not saying it IS a hoax. Just that the possibility can’t be ruled out.

    It’s most likely a representation of either local wildlife, or something that the sculptor saw somewhere, that made an impression but which he or she maybe couldn’t clearly recall.

    But it’s extremely unlikely that it’s an ancient representation of a stegosaur. Or any other dinosaur.

  40. Alligator responds:

    The plates are a leaf design. It is an artistic, stylized rendering of an Asian rhino. All the critters on the temple adornment are stylized like this but recognizable. If it wasn’t for the “plates” which are simply the leaf designs, there would be no question. Unless you are into Creation science, you must accept the evolutionary model. In that model stegosaurus went out around around 140 million years ago. That’s an awful long time and multiple climatic upheavals for that one species to make it to around 1,000 years ago. It’s okay if you want to belive based on the creation model, but basically that is your too choices for adhering to “this is a stegosaurus.” The stegosauri fossils “Kentrosaurus” from China tend to be much smaller and the plates pointed rather than broad and flat like those of their N. American cousins. All stegosauri fossils have small heads on a tapering neck that is low to the ground. This critter in the motif has ears and a long sloping face and wide mouth like a rhino. The only thing really exaggerated on it is the tail. There are more detailed pictures on the web and you can see faint lines on the body that coincide with folds of skin on Asian rhinos.

    Perhaps time would be better spent looking at the homind motifs to see if any correspond to the Orang Pendak or other hairy folk of the forests. :)

  41. cryptothekid responds:

    Hmm, the light coloring of the stone does seem kinda odd.

  42. gavinf responds:

    I for one feel much better that viergacht and sundevit could open my eyes to my stupidity.

    They actually used the phrase CASE CLOSED! A creature that could very well have been quite rare at the time of the carvings, information therefore limited and passed on as to the way the animal looked, could NEVER explain the carving. If it was exceedingly rare, or SMALLER than the stegosaurs we are more accustomed to considering, or perhaps adapted to a jungle area, then it may not appear that often, or, even look different.

    If some are not pleased with my tone, I apologize. To you. But being called stupid because I have an opinion, and one that is not impossible, irritates me.

    No, I am not a biologist, zoologist, or palaentologist. I am simply an individual with a mind open and hopeful for discovery. It may be a rhino. It may be plant leaves in the background. But quite frankly, it is open to interpretation.

    And if you find this website so foolish and beneath you, why are you trolling around?

    Mr Coleman, I hope this response is not considered unacceptable.

  43. Sordes responds:

    I think the rhino idea is not the baddest, but given the big head I could also very well imagine a wild boar. There are wild boars of the species Sus scrofa in this country, and it is well possible that in earlier times other species like the highly cryptic Sus bucculentus occured there too. The wild pigs of southern Asia look often leaner than those of Europe because they aren´t as fat and long-heared as their northern cousins. I can´t really understand why so many people can write with so much certainty that this is a stegosaur. I think really none of them has actually an idea how stegosaurs really looked. But this doesn´t surprise me given the fact how many people think the Moore Beach carcass was a plesiosaur.

  44. Daniel-san responds:

    I like the idea of it being a chameleon. They can’t carve a color change so they showed it with leaves in the background to imply its talent.

  45. cryptidsrus responds:

    One point—

    Where’s Mystery_Man where you need him? :)

    Brent, are you there? Might as well throw in your opinion along with all the rest of us “unlearned, stupid”
    crypto enthusiasts.

    Viergath and Sundevit: Sorry you cannot find “smarter” people in this site. That’s fine. You have a right to your views. BTW, just because one has not found stegosaurus bones in that area does not mean one was not seen or even lived there. Some prehistoric ancestor species have been “reconstructed” from a single tooth. So lack of “evidence” does not mean diddly. This is a real mystery here. I’m not saying with 100% certainty (of course) that this is a stegosarus and I’m not saying anybody else is saying that here. All I’m saying is that this merits real investigation here. One of the joys of this site is the mixture of views and the respectful (mostly) exchange of views. Let’s not spoil that, please?

    And I’ll go with MattSouth’s opinion that it is highly unlikely this is a hoax. Take an entire rock wall and go through all the trouble to hoax it? That dog won’t hunt. Not impossible (crazier things have happened) but still highly unlikely.

  46. The Y2J Problem responds:

    It doesn’t really look like either too me. How do we know there wasn’t a now extinct lizard that looks like that. Because the plates are the same size. There is even na small plate at the end of the tail. If I had too guess I’d go with an undiscovered rhino with a long tail. The head looks so much like a rhino.

  47. liltinybee responds:

    I was in Cambodia last September and spent a lot of time at Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and many other sites. I did not see this particular carving, but I can tell you that there were extensive renovations being done at numerous sites. They were, in many places, adding sandstone to old carvings and replacing broken statues etc. They were quite obviously newly made, but it was explained to us that in a few years, the new additions/fixes would look like aged and blend in.

    Because I’ve seen the renovations, I can tell you that the stegosaurus carving looks very new. As others have commented, the color is a tell-tale sign.

    I wish I had seen this article or heard about this before my trip! I was standing probably five feet from this doorway and have lots of pictures of it, but nothing up close.

  48. Sordes responds:

    This is a really interesting information. It is really sad that there is no better photo of this carving. It would be also very interesting to have more comparisons with other animal-carvings on the temple.



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