Styracosaurus albertensis

  • Pronounced:  sty - Rack - o - Saw - rus

  • Diet:  Herbivore (Plant-Eater)

  • Name Means:  "spiked lizard"

  • Length:  18 feet (5.5 m)

  • Height:  6 feet (2 m)

  • Weight:  3 tons (3,000 kilos)

  • Time:  Cretaceous

Fossil remains for this Dinosaur have been found in Western North America

Styracosaurus is an ancestor of the Triceratops  It lived about 10 million years before its more famous relative. Not as large as Triceratops  Styracosaurus had a row of long spikes around its frill. It also had a long horn between its eyes and nose. This plant eater was designed to chew up the very tough leaves of low-growing plants.

The long spikes and horn would have made it difficult for the predators of that time, such as the early tyrannosaur, Albertosaurus  to take on an adult Styracosaurus. This creature had the typical features of the ceratopsian dinosaurs - a beak that would have been used to cut the leaves from the plants and a row of densely packed teeth to chew them into pulp.

There are several theories as to the use of the spikes on the frill of Styracosaurus. In addition to a defensive weapon, they may have served to make the creature look larger and more formidable or they may have been brightly colored for display during mating rituals.

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