The Naming of the Ankylosaur Saichania
The Late Cretaceous member of the Ankylosauridae family, (a group of armoured dinosaurs) known as Saichania (S. chulsanensis) has caused some confusion amongst young dinosaur fans. Many ask us how did this seven-metre-long, giant, herbivore get its name.
Saichania (Saichania chulsanensis) was named and described by the Polish palaeontologist Teresa Maryánska in 1977. In a departure from normal scientific practice whereby dinosaurs are named from Greek or Latin, Teresa named this animal after the local Mongolian for “beautiful”. This has caused some confusion as some writers have stated that Saichania got its name from the beautifully preserved fossils. Others state that Saichania was named after the “Saichan-tue” mountains of the Gobi desert.
The fossil remains of Saichania were certainly very well preserved and are almost complete, providing remarkable data on this heavily armoured Cretaceous dinosaur.
A Model of the Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Saichania
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The animal certainly looks very fierce, it is hard to think of this dinosaur as “beautiful”.