Temporal range: Campanian
|Saichania skeleton on display at Dinosaur Kingdom, Nakasato, Japan|
|Species:||† S. chulsanensis|
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. 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).
Saichania was a bulky, heavily armoured dinosaur with a maximum length of about 6.6 metres (22 ft) long. 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.
- Maryanska, T. (1977). "Ankylosauridae (Dinosauria) from Mongolia". Palaeontologia Polonica 37: 85–151.
- Seebacher, F. (2001). "A new method to calculate allometric length-mass relationships of dinosaurs." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 21(1): 51–60.
- Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 161. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.