SPbU scientists have described a newly discovered genus in the gigantic dinosaur group, commonly referred to as sauropod dinosaurs. The findings have been published in a new SPbU’s journal Biological Communications. The first ever Russian sauropod is named Tengrisaurus starkovi in honour of the Turk primary chief deity Tengri and a Siberian paleontologist Aleksei Starkov. We have learnt more about the new taxon and a new journal at the science-lunch at SPbU.

Biological Communications is a renewed Vestnik of St Petersburg University. Series 3, Biology that has been published in Russian since 1946. Today it has been transformed into a journal in English on biology with a particular focus on communicating Russian scientific discoveries to the global academic community. The first issue has a new format: it has a new layout and new publication requirements.

“We have quite a number of up-and-coming editors who have been engaged into global science and contributed to the international journals, — said Editor-in-Chief of Biological Communications SPbU’s Associate Professor Egor Malashichev. — The journal is now publically available on-line. It is free for both the authors and subscribers. St Petersburg University is striving to make science open, and it is the essence of my editorial. We are moving from open access to open science”.

The editorial board comprises both SPbU and international members, among them is Yale University (USA), Kiel University (Germany), Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences (Poland), and University of Trieste (Italy) to name but a few. The main article of the first issue of Biological Communications is an article by SPbU Prof Aleksandr Averianov and Associate Prof Pavel Skutchas. They have described the first Russian sauropod dinosaur by only three caudal vertebrae discovered near Gusinoe Lake in Trans-Baikal in different years.

“As far as 1998, when I was a student, we found the first trails and then other trails, — said Pavel Skutchas. — But even then we realized that these vertebrae must be of the titanosaurs, most advanced sauropods. In early 2000 however we knew little about the titanosaurs and what we knew was insufficient to describe a new genus as we had nothing to compare it with. The recent 15 years have discovered a number of the skeletons in South America and scientists have described new taxon of the titanosaurs. Now we have enough data to say that what we have discovered is a new genus”.

The tengrisaur was alike to not the most gigantic sauropods: a massive ling tail, a long neck, 20 tonnes in weight and 12 meters in length, said the scientist. What is more surprising is that the titanosaurs were considered to have appeared in the Early Cretaceous of South America, which dates back as far as 145 mln years, that is an ancient supercontinent  Gondwana. The discovery by SPbU scientists however presumes that the titanosaurs may be of the Asian origin.