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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Saichania

Saichania, meaning “beautiful one”, is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period. It was discovered in the Barun Goyot Formation in the Nemegt Basin, southern Mongolia. The type species is S. chulsanensis.

Saichania was described in 1977 by Teresa Maryańska. They type specimen consists of a skull and the anterior part of the postcranial skeleton, including neck and back vertebrae, shoulder girdle, forelimb and some armor material.

Saichania was a massive, heavily armored herbivore with an adult length of 22 feet. The armor on top of its head and along its back and flanks were studded with large spikes, and it had a club-like tail. The skull had complex air passages and an unusually hard palate. These features may have allowed the dinosaur to cool air it had breathed, and to eat tough plant matter.

Scientists suggest Saichania lived in a hot, arid environment. There is evidence that this animal may have also possessed a salt gland next to its nostrils, which would have aided it in a desert habitat.

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Saichania