New Species of Titanosaur Unearthed in China

Paleontologists in China have found fossil fragments from a new genus and species of titanosaurian sauropod dinosaur that walked the Earth during the Cretaceous period.

Life reconstruction of Jiangxititan ganzhouensis. Image credit: UnexpectedDinoLesson / Sci.News.

Life reconstruction of Jiangxititan ganzhouensis. Image credit: UnexpectedDinoLesson / Sci.News.

Jiangxititan ganzhouensis lived in what is now China between 72 and 66 million years ago (Late Cretaceous epoch).

The dinosaur’s partial skeleton was found in the Nanxiong Formation near Tankou Town in Ganzhou City, the Chinese province of Jiangxi.

The specimen consists of seven cervical and anterior dorsal vertebrae, some cervical and dorsal ribs.

Jiangxititan ganzhouensis belongs to the sauropod dinosaur group Titanosauria.

Jiangxititan ganzhouensis is unique among the Asian titanosauriforms by possessing the deeply bifurcated posterior cervical and anterior dorsal neural spines, and the dorsoventrally compressed posterior cervical and anterior dorsal centra,” lead author Jin-You Mo from the Natural History Museum of Guangxi and colleagues wrote in their paper.

Jiangxititan ganzhouensis represents the second sauropod species from the Nanxiong Formation.

“The Late Cretaceous Nanxiong Formation is represented by an extensive sequence of red mudstones, sandstones and conglomerates,” the paleontologists wrote.

“It has yielded a diverse array of vertebrates in recent years, including theropods, ornithopods, crocodiles, turtles, lizards, and mammals, as well as a vast number of dinosaur eggs.”

“Only one sauropod species, Gannansaurus sinensis, has been recorded in this area.”

The team’s analysis places Jiangxititan ganzhouensis within the deeply-nested titanosaur group Lognkosauria.

Jiangxititan ganzhouensis displays features indicating a later-diverging position than Gannansaurus sinensis, and more specifically, Jiangxititan ganzhouensis has been recovered as a lognkosaur but Gannansaurus sinensis as a titanosauriform outside the late-diverging clade comprising the Diamantinasauria and Lithostrotia,” the researchers wrote.

“Consequently, although Jiangxititan ganzhouensis does not have overlapping elements with Gannansaurus sinensis, we are confident that Jiangxititan ganzhouensis is a distinct species from Gannansaurus sinensis.”

“The discovery of Jiangxititan ganzhouensis demonstrates the presence of both early-diverging and late-diverging titanosauriform sauropods in the Late Cretaceous Ganzhou dinosaur fauna,” they added.

“The discovery also increases the diversity of the titanosaurians in the Late Cretaceous of Asia.”

The team’s paper was published in the journal Historical Biology.


Jin-You Mo et al. A New Titanosaurian Sauropod from the Upper Cretaceous of Jiangxi Province, Southern China. Historical Biology, published online September 23, 2024; doi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2259413

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