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XINJIANGTITAN

a plant-eating mamenchisaurid sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of China.
Pronunciation: SHEEN-JEE-yong-TI-tuhn
Meaning: Xinjiang Giant
Author/s: Wings, Zhou, et al. (2013)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Xinjiang, China
Chart Position: 673

Xinjiangtitan shashaensis

Discovered at Xinjiang in 2012 and initially announced on an internet news site in 2013, Xinjiangtitan is shrouded in... German. Unfortunately, outside of "lufftwaffe", "swinehund", "schnell" and "5-1 to England" the language is alien to us, and when the official paper arrived the following year it was entirely in Chinese, which didn't help. Nevertheless, we did our best to dig the dirt, metaphorically, and the following is what we discovered.

Xinjiangtitan was found back-first in rocks that "rise like a dome from the sand" and paleontologists are hopeful of finding the neck, tail, skull and three missing limbs as they dig down from the top. Those involved have a job on their hands because local authorities want to leave the skeleton where it is and build a park around it to attract tourists and boost their economy, but so far they have chiselled-out some bones with amazing stats.

An extremely robust thighbone alone measures more than five feet in length and some ribs are six and a half. The estimated total length of Xinjiangtitan is about 105 feet (32 meters) which easily trumps Mamenchisaurus at 73 feet (22 meters), and makes it the largest sauropod known from the Middle Jurassic of Asia and one of the longest known from anywhere.

Although a mamenchisaurid closely related to Mamenchisaurus, Xinjiangtitan apparently sports several features found in diplodocids, one of which, Wing et al. state, is "relatively short hindlimbs". Funnily enough, although relatively short compared to those of other sauropods, the rear legs of diplodocids are actually longer than their front ones, but we don't know if this is the case for Xinjiangtitan because its front limbs have yet to be excavated.
(Xinjiang giant from Shanshan)Etymology
Xinjiangtitan is derived from "Xinjiang" (the area of China in which its remains were discovered) and the Greek "titan" (giant). The species epithet, shanshanesis, is derived from "Shanshan" (for the ancient Kingdom of Shanshan) and the Latin "ensis" (from) though, strictly speaking, it should've been shanshanensis.
Discovery
The remains of Xinjiangtitan were discovered in the Qigu Formation, Piqan County, Xinjiang, China, by workers from Jilin University in 2012.
The holotype (SSV12001) is a partial skeleton including vertebrae from the neck, back, hip and tail with associated ribs, a partial left leg (including the femur, tibia, fibula and a metatarsal), left and right pubic bones and right ischium. Only a few kilometers away from this discovery lie the remains of a second giant dinosaur that may (or may not) belong to the same species.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Middle Jurassic
Stage: Aalenian
Age range: 174-170 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 30 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: ?
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Saurischia
Sauropodomorpha
Sauropoda
Mamenchisauridae
Xinjiangtitan
shashaensis
References
• Wings, Oliver; Zhou, Chang-Fu; Dong, Zhi-Ming; Wu, Wenhao (2013) "A new gigantic sauropod dinosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Shanshan, Xinjiang".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "XINJIANGTITAN :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 29th Mar 2017.
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