Saichania ‭(‬Beautiful one‭)

Short Info

Saichania ‭(‬Beautiful one‭)

Phonetic : Sie-chan-ee-ah.

Named By : Teresa Maryańska‭ ‬-‭ ‬1977

Diet : Herbivore

Size : 6.6 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Armoured Dinosaur

Type Species : S.‭ ‬chulsanensis‭ (‬type‭)

Found in : Mongolia,‭ ‬Nemegt Basin‭ ‬-‭ ‬Barun Goyot Formation

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 80 million years ago

Saichania (Mongolian meaning “beautiful one”) is a genus belonging to the herbivorous ankylosaurid dinosaurs that lived in early in the Late Cretaceous period of Mongolia and China.


Saichania chulsanensisGhedoghedo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The first fossils from Saichania were discovered in the beginning of the 1970s in Mongolia. In 1977, the animal Saichania chulsanensis was designated. The description of the species is built on a limited amount of fossil material and, in particular, the rear part of the animal is not widely recognized.

Saichania was more than five metres long and weighed more than two tonnes. It was stronger than the other members of Ankylosauridae. The neck vertebrae, the shoulder girdle breast bones, and ribs were connected or fused. The body was flat and low-slung, sitting on four legs. The forelimbs were extremely strong. The head was shielded by armor tiles that were bulbous. It was able to defend itself against predators such as Tarbosaurus by using the tail-club. On the torso, keeled osteoderms were also present. Saichania took plants from its desert habitat using its horny beak, and then transformed them into its large hindgut.

In the years 1970 and 1971, A Polish-Mongolian expedition discovered ankylosaurian fossils found in the Gobi Desert close to Chulsan or Khulsan.

The species of type Saichania chulsanensis was first named and described by Polish Palaeontologist Teresa Maryanska in 1977, together with the closely related species Tarchia kielanae. The name is a reference to “the beautiful one” in Mongolian reference to the state of pristine preservation of the specimen. The particular name is a reference to the origins close to Chulsa.

The Holotype of Saichania chulsanensis specimen GI SPS 100/151, has been discovered in the Barun Goyot Formation which dates from the late Campanian, which is about seventy-three million years ago. It comprises skulls and the anterior portion of the postcranial skeleton. seven vertebrae of the neck, 10 back vertebrae and the shoulder girdle of left the left forelimb, two cervical halfrings, and the an extensive armour set in the life position. The holotype has a lot of articulated. The specimens that are referred to include ZPAL MgD-I/114 which consists of an undescribed skull roof fragment and armour that is associated with it, as well as an undescribed, nearly entire skull and skull PIN 3142/251.

In the following years, the juvenile specimen MPC-D100/1305 was described extensively in 2011, appearing to be the very first to offer all the information needed on the postcranial skull. In 2014, however, Victoria Megan Arbour concluded that the authors had been deceived by the fact that the skeleton was complete with a skull casting of GI SPS 100/151 and also that the rest of the fossil was a part of an additional ankylosaur. It could be Pinacosaurus. In contrast Arbour increased the possibility of Saichania specimens by referring to PIN 3142/250, which was previously believed to be an Tarchia Exemplar. This suggests that Saichania was previously believed to only occur within the Barun Goyot Formation at Khulsan and Khulsan, also comes in the Nemegt Formation at Khermeen Tsav. Saichania would then be the only ankylosaur definitely known from the Nemegt, its occurrence thus spanning the time of the Campanian-Maastrichtian transition, and early Maastrichtian (Nemegtian) period. Arbour also thought of to be the Chinese taxa Tianzhenosaurus youngi Pang & Cheng 1998 as well as Shanxia tianzhenensis Barrett, You, Upchurch & Burton 1998 to be junior synonyms for Saichania. The reference to PIN 3142/250 in Saichania was opposed from Penkalski & Tumanova who considered the specimen to be a reference to an entirely novel species called Tarchia, T. teresae.

Source: Wikipedia