Olorotitan

Name: Olorotitan ‭(‬Giant Swan‭)‬.
Phonetic: Oh-low-ro-ti-tan.
Named By: Pascal Godefroit,‭ ‬Yuri Bolotsky‭ & ‬Vladimir Alifanov‭ ‬-‭ ‬2003.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ornithopoda,‭ ‬Hadrosauridae,‭ ‬Euhadrosauria,‭ ‬Lambeosaurinae.
Species: O.‭ ‬arharensis‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Up to‭ ‬12‭ ‬meters long.
Known locations: Russia,‭ ‬Amur Region‭ ‬-‭ ‬Tsagayan Formation.
Time period: Maastrichtian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete specimen.

       Hadrosaurs have a long association with North America,‭ ‬but they are known from other areas like Asia where they are usually‭ ‬represented by incomplete remains.‭ ‬Olorotitan however was almost complete and became widespread through palaeontology circles as the most complete lambeosaurine hadrosaurid outside of North America.‭ ‬With eighteen vertebrae Olorotitan is also remarkable for having a very long neck for a hadrosaurid,‭ ‬and it was this neck length that was the inspiration for its name which means‭ ‘‬giant swan‭’‬.‭
Olorotitan had a distinctive head crest that rose up from the top and back of the skull and points backwards in what has been called a hatchet shape.‭ ‬The crests on lambeosaurine hadrosaurids are thought to have served a similar purpose as the horns and frills of ceratopsian dinosaurs in that they would allow an individual to recognise others of its own‭ ‬species from similar dinosaurs as well as being coloured to reveal the vitality of the individual.‭ ‬However it is also possible that the hollow structure of the crest may have acted as a resonating chamber to affect the sound of its calls.‭ ‬This thinking is based upon the crest being expanded from the nasal bones,‭ ‬and if accurate,‭ ‬it would give Olorotitan an ability similar to what has been proposed for Parasaurolophus.

Olorotitan at the Museum voor Natuurwetenschappen in Brussels, Belgium

       Olorotitan also seems to have had a very rigid tail as evidenced by the presence of articulations between the neural spines of the caudal vertebrae of the first third portion of the tail‭ (‬from where the tail joins the body‭)‬.‭ ‬A theory to explain this is that they were formed as the result of an infection in the individual‭’‬s life,‭ ‬but the regularity of their occurrence has cast doubt upon this idea.‭ ‬Further Olorotitan specimens,‭ ‬particularly of the hind quarters and caudal vertebra would likely confirm one theory over the other.
The fact that Olorotitan exists in Asia at a time when other lambeosaurine hadrosaurids seem to have disappeared from North America suggests that the two continents were climatically different to one another,‭ ‬with a Asia having a more suitable habitat for lambeosaurines.‭ ‬A climatic difference could also explain why fossils of sauropods are also known from some areas of Asia long after they disappeared in North America.

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