Tanius (After the palaeontologist Tan Xichou)
Carl Wiman - 1929
Estimated 5-6 meters long
T. sinensis (type)
China, Shandong Province
Late Cretaceous, 70 million years ago
Tanius is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, around 70 million years ago. Its fossils have been found in the Nanxiong Formation of Guangdong Province, southern China. The name Tanius means “Tan’s beast” in honor of Tan Xichou, a prominent Chinese paleontologist who made many contributions to the study of dinosaurs in China.
Tanius was a small to medium-sized theropod, measuring around 16-20 feet (5-6 meters) in length and weighing around 440-880 pounds (200-400 kilograms). It had a long, slender body with strong hindlimbs and a long, stiff tail that likely helped with balance and maneuverability. Its forelimbs were relatively short and had three fingers, each tipped with sharp claws.
Tanius was a bipedal predator, and its teeth and jaws suggest that it was a generalist feeder, eating a variety of prey including small to medium-sized dinosaurs, lizards, and mammals. Its teeth were blade-like and serrated, and its jaws were powerful and flexible, allowing it to deliver a deadly bite.
The discovery of Tanius fossils has helped paleontologists to better understand the diversity of theropod dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous period in southern China. Tanius was one of several theropod genera present in this region, alongside other predators like the dromaeosaurid Sinornithosaurus and the tyrannosaurid Qianzhousaurus.
Additionally, the discovery of Tanius fossils in the Nanxiong Formation has provided valuable insight into the paleoenvironment of southern China during the Late Cretaceous period. The presence of marine and freshwater fossils in this formation suggests that the area was once a coastal region with a complex ecosystem of terrestrial and aquatic animals.
In summary, Tanius is a fascinating dinosaur that has contributed to our understanding of the diversity and ecology of theropod dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous period in southern China. Its namesake, Tan Xichou, is a highly respected paleontologist who has made many important contributions to the study of Chinese dinosaurs.