Scientists have dug up the first known dinosaur remains in Malaysia in the form of a tooth fossil found in the rural interiors of Pahang.

The tooth, named Sample UM10575, is only about 23mm long and 10mm wide.

The team of paleontology researchers from University of Malaya (UM) and two other Japanese institutions-- namely Waseda and Kumamoto University-- announced this discovery on Tuesday.

“We have successfully confirmed the presence of dinosaur remains, a fossilised tooth, in Pahang,” said the Lead researcher from UM, Associate Professor Dr Masatoshi Sone in a press briefing at UM.

Masatoshi said the discovery was made in August last year following field expeditions and search for dinosaur deposits in Malaysia since September 2012.

The tooth, explained Masatoshi, was the best preserved among other bone fragments also uncovered at the excavation site.

His team member Professor Ren Hirayama, a specialist in reptile paleontology, had identified the sample as belonging to a dinosaur group called spinosaurid.

Spinosaurids, said Masatoshi, were known as a carnivorous “fish-eating” dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period (ca. 145-75 million years ago).

The typical spinosaurid, Masatoshi said, was believed to be ‘semi-aquatic’.

“It means it lived half in the river or lake and half on land. Something like the hippopotamus," he said.

The sample was too small to tell more, including the sex of the prehistoric creature but they were generally believed to be also territorial animals.

“We don’t know how it looked like exactly. We know they walked on two legs, typically. Maybe like the T-Rex, and some were known to have large nail-like claws,” he said.

The area where the specimen was found used to be a lake. The tooth was extracted from a sedimentary rock strata dated in the late Mesozoic age, or the ‘age of reptiles’.

From the find, the researchers hope to dig up more, possibly a whole body. Large deposits of dinosaur fossils are believed to still remain in Malaysia, said Masatoshi.

“We currently continue further research and hope to conduct more extensive field investigations that may disclose more significant finds,” he said.

Meanwhile, Masatoshi said that the site must remain secret and thanked the Pahang government for promising to take urgent measures to protection and conserve of the present fossil site.

“There were cases of robbery and of private collectors who went to sites in Thailand, Laos and Mongolia. We hope it does not happen here,” he said.

Masatoshi said that he also hoped the new discovery would also lead to the development of paleontology study in the country and eventually establish a Malaysian dinosaur museum.

Masatoshi’s team consisted of Teng Yu He, Prof Ren Hirayama, MAsataka Yoshida, Associate Prof Dr Toshifumi Komatsu.