Dinosaurs for Girls (part 2)
Women palaeontologists continue to make their mark on the science of studying ancient life. Indeed, many of the most important discoveries of recent years have been made by women. For example, the most complete fossil Tyrannosaurus rex yet found was discovered by Sue Hendrickson in 1990 as she explored an area northeast of Ruth Mason Quarry in South Dakota.
Not only are women finding new specimens but they are having an impact on the science of palaeontology in more subtle ways. Polish palaeontologist Teresa Maryanska discovered a new genus of armoured dinosaur whilst on a scientific expedition to Mongolia. In a departure from standard scientific practice, when it came to naming this new animal, Teresa chose not to use a Greek or Latin term.
Instead she named the animal Saichania, it means “beautiful” in the local Mongolian dialect. The fossil remains of this Ankylosaur were certainly beautifully preserved and the specimen was almost complete so perhaps the word “beautiful” is appropriate.
This herbivore lived at the end of the Cretaceous period, around 80 million years ago (Campanian). A fully grown adult is estimated to have been up to 20 feet long and it may have weighed as much as 3 Tonnes.
A model of Saichania (is beauty in the eye of the beholder);
Click here to view armoured dinosaur models: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.
Many other palaeontologists have broken with the convention of using Latin or Greek to name their discoveries. Mary and her team have paved the way for Chinese scientists to name their discoveries using their own language and not the classical languages of the Western world. We even have some “beautiful” Chinese specimens rivalling Saichania.
An example would be Sinocalliopteryx a fleet footed member of the Compsognathidae group. It is certainly beautifully preserved and represents another of the feathered wonders being unearthed from China.