Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good Lord! It’s a leopard! - Star

Oct 6, 2009

A SCIENTIST who recently studied an animal fossil found in Gua Naga Mas near Gopeng, believes it could be that of a leopard.

Since its discovery by Malaysian Nature Society members in 1992, many have put forward the view that the fossil could be of a tiger or serow.

Lord Cranbrook (blue shirt and yellow hat) taking down notes on the fossil after inspecting it.

The latest opinion that the fossil is a leopard came from Dr Gathorne Gathorne-Hardy, the 5th Earl of Cranbrook.

Lord Cranbrook, as he is popularly known, was invited by Universiti Malaya (UM) senior lecturer in Geology Dr Ros Fatihah Muhammad to inspect the fossil on Sept 29.

He said the fossil was that of a carnivore but too small to be a tiger.

Prehistoric animal: The ancient fossil in the cave

Lord Cranbrook was a senior lecturer in zoology between 1961 and 1970 at UM and the author of several books on wildlife in South East Asia.

On why the fossil was found about 30m above the ground, Dr Ros Fatihah said studies in areas in the Kinta Valley had shown that the ground level was much higher in the past.

Dr Ros Fatihah said sediment collected would be sent to a researcher in Australia to determine the age of the cave and fossil.

It has been reported earlier that experts believed that the animal could have lived during the Pleistocene age which started 2.5 million years ago and ended 10,000 years ago.

The Museum and Antiquities Department has gazetted Gua Naga Mas as a historical site.

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