Paleontologists digging in northwest China unearthed two giant dinosaur species, the first time scientists have ever reported finding vertebrates in the region.
The researchers, representing the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Museum of Brazil, wrote in a study published last week in Scientific Reports that they found fossil fragments of rib cages and spinal vertebrae belonging to two new species, which they've named Silutitan sinensis - "silu" meaning "Silk Road" in Mandarin - and Hamititan xinjiangensis, a nod to the region where it was found. Both incorporate the Greek word "titan," which means "giant," in reference to their size.
The species are part of the sauropod family, herbivores who had long necks and were the largest animals to ever roam the planet. It's estimated that the Silutitan was more than 65 feet long and the Hamititan was more than 55 feet long, reports CNN.
The fossils date back 120 to 130 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period. The team isn't finished exploring the area yet - they think there could be nests with fossilized embryos just below the surface, and will keep digging to see what they can find next.