Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Become a sustaining member and you could win a trip to Barbados!

Scientists Discover Not 1, But 2 New Dinosaur Species In China

Brachiosaurus dinosaur, a relative of the newly discovered species, seen in computer artwork.
Science Photo Library/Getty Images
Brachiosaurus dinosaur, a relative of the newly discovered species, seen in computer artwork.

What's better than a giant, plant-eating dinosaur? Two dinosaurs, of course.

Scientists in China discovered two new dinosaur species when analyzing fossils from the country's northwest regions. Their findings, published in a study in Scientific Reports, conclude that two of the specimens were from previously unknown species.

The dinosaurs are some of the first vertebrates to be reported in the region, "increasing the diversity of the fauna as well as the information on Chinese sauropods," according to the study.

Scientists estimate the species lived around 120 to 130 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period. Both were sauropods, a category of plant-eating dinos with long necks that includes brachiosaurus.

Scientists named the species Silutitan sinensis (or "silu" which is Mandarin for "Silk Road") and Hamititan xinjiangensis (named for where the fossil specimen was found in Xinjiang).

You may have noticed both names have the word "titan" in them, the Greek meaning for "giant" — that's because researchers estimate that the Silutitan species could have been over 70 feet long, while the Hamititian species could have grown to be 56 feet long. For comparison, the largest animal living on Earth today — the blue whale — can range from 75 to 100 feet.

Josie Fischels is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Josie Fischels
Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.