The first fossils of Saichania were found in the early 1970s in Mongolia. In 1977 the type species Saichania chulsanensis was named. The description of this species has been based on limited fossil material; especially the rear of the animal is not well known.
Saichania was over five metres long and weighed over two tonnes. It was more robustly built than other members of the Ankylosauridae. Neck vertebrae, shoulder girdle, ribs and breast bones were fused or firmly connected. Its body was flat and low-slung, standing on four short legs. The forelimbs were very powerful. The head was protected by bulbous armour tiles. It could defend itself against predators like Tarbosaurus with a tail-club. On the torso keeled osteoderms were present. Saichania bit off plants in its desert habitat with a horny beak and processed them in its wide hindgut.
Quick Saichania Facts
- Lived in what is now known as China
- Lived during the late Cretaceous period
- Was 2 car lengths long
- Weighed as much as 2 giraffes
- Was an herbivore
Saichania is a dinosaur that was first discovered in Mongolia during the 1970s. It was named Saichania by Teresa Maryańska and that name means “beautiful one.” It wasn’t given that name because it was prettier than any other dinosaur but instead was given this name because the bones that were found were in pristine condition.
This dinosaur lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago. It lived in what is now Mongolia and China. However, at that time, the climate of these two areas was vastly different than it is now. It would have been a desert with huge sand dunes that were interspersed with oases.
Saichania, like most ankylosaurs, were herbivores and ate only vegetable matter. Plants that it could have eaten during this period of time include bennettitales, ginkgo, palms and seed ferns.
If you look at Saichania pictures, then you’ll quickly notice that this dinosaur was heavily armored with rows of bone spurs or spikes up and down its body. You would also notice that it has a large and very heavy hammer tail that it could use as a weapon to defend itself.
What you won’t see in the illustrations, however, is that it had a very tough palate (needed for chewing up tough vegetation) and had a complicated serious of air passages throughout its skull. Paleontologists aren’t sure why they had these nasal passages, but some of them say that it is probably due to the fact that they lived in a very dry climate and these passages served as a way to retain moisture.
Some interesting facts about Saichania include the facts that it was 21 feet long and weighed approximately 5600 pounds. That means that it was about as long as two cars placed end to end and weighed as much as 2 giraffes put together.
Also read: Giraffatitan