Saichania

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Saichania
Temporal range: Campanian
Saichania skeleton.jpg
Saichania skeleton on display at Dinosaur Kingdom, Nakasato, Japan
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Family: Ankylosauridae
Subfamily: Ankylosaurinae
Genus: Saichania
Maryańska, 1977
Species: † S. chulsanensis
Binomial name
Saichania chulsanensis
Maryańska, 1977

Saichania (Mongolian meaning "beautiful one") is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period. It was found in the Barun Goyot Formation at Khulsan in the Nemegt Basin, southern Mongolia. It lived during the Campanian. The type species is Saichania chulsanensis.

Saichania was described by Teresa Maryańska in 1977, along with Tarchia kielanae.[1] The type specimen of S. chulsanensis consists of a skull and the anterior part of the postcranial skeleton (neck and back vertebrae, shoulder girdle, forelimb, and some armour in life position). Referred specimens include a fragmentary skull roof and associated armour, and an undescribed, almost complete skeleton with skull (see picture).

Description[edit]

Skull

Saichania was a bulky, heavily armoured dinosaur with a maximum length of about 6.6 metres (22 ft) long.[2] The armour on the top of its head and along its back and flanks were studded with large spikes, and it had a club-shaped tail. The skull had complex air passages, and an unusually solid hard palate. These may have allowed the animal to cool the air that it breathed, and to eat tough plants, suggesting that it lived in a hot, arid, environment. There is even some evidence that the animal may have possessed a salt gland next to its nostrils, which would have further aided it in a desert habitat.[3]

Classification[edit]

Maryańska classified Saichania as an ankylosaurid related to Pinacosaurus and observed that these two dinosaurs differ from all others in the structure of their nasal cavities. Maryańska provided a differential diagnosis that showed that the two genera were distinct based on morphological differences observed in the bones of the skull and braincase.

Illustration

The following cladogram is based on the phylogenetic analysis of the Ankylosaurinae conducted by Arbour and Currie (2013):[4]

Ankylosaurinae

Scolosaurus (=Oohkotokia horneri)





Ankylosaurus




Anodontosaurus



Euoplocephalus







Dyoplosaurus



Talarurus



Tsagantegia





Minotaurasaurus



Nodocephalosaurus



Tianzhenosaurus





Pinacosaurus grangeri



Pinacosaurus mephistocephalus





Tarchia



Saichania










References[edit]

  1. ^ Maryanska, T. (1977). "Ankylosauridae (Dinosauria) from Mongolia". Palaeontologia Polonica 37: 85–151. 
  2. ^ Seebacher, F. (2001). "A new method to calculate allometric length-mass relationships of dinosaurs." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 21(1): 51–60.[1]
  3. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 161. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 
  4. ^ Arbour V.M. and Currie P.J., 2013, "Euoplocephalus tutus and the Diversity of Ankylosaurid Dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA", PLoS ONE 8(5): e62421. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062421

External links[edit]