Styracosaurus ‭(‬Spiked lizard‭)

Short Info

Styracosaurus ‭(‬Spiked lizard‭)

Phonetic : Sty-rak-oh-sore-us

Named By : Lawrence Lambe‭ ‬-‭ ‬1913

Diet : Herbivore

Size : ‬Estimated 5.5 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Ceratopsian

Type Species : S.‭ ‬albertensis‭ (‬type‭)

Found in : Canada,‭ ‬Alberta‭ ‬-‭ ‬Dinosaur Park Formation

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 76-70 million years ago

Styracosaurus (/stI,raek@’so:r@sor sti-RAK-@SOR-@s that means “spiked lizard” from the Ancient Greek styrax/sturax “spike at the butt-end of a spear-shaft” and sauros/sauros “lizard”) is a species of herbivores that is a ceratopsian dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period (Campanian stage) approximately 75.5 until 75 million years in the past. It was a genus with four to six long parietal spikes protruding through its neck’s frill, and a smaller jugal horn that was on its cheeks with a single one sticking from its chin, which could have measured up to sixty centimeters (2 feet) long and 15 centimeters (6 inches) in width. The functions or purpose of the frills and horns were debated over for several years.


Torosaurus, is it? (20752673005)shankar s. from Dubai, united arab emirates, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Styracosaurus was a rather huge dinosaur, with heights up to 5.5 metres (18 feet) and weighing approximately 2.7 tonnes. It was about 1.8 metres (5.9 feet) tall. Styracosaurus had four legs that were short and a large body. The tail of the animal was quite short. The skull was adorned with an elongated beak and cheek teeth that were arranged in a continuous battery of dental cells, suggesting that the animal was able to cut off plants. Similar to other ceratopsians the dinosaur could be an animal that was herded, traveling in large numbers in the form of bones.

The name was coined in the name of Lawrence Lambe in 1913, Styracosaurus is a species of Centrosaurinae. A single species of the genus, S. albertensis, is currently assigned to Styracosaurus. The other species S. theobatus which was first named after Charles Gilmore was reassigned to the new genus Rubeosaurus according to Andrew McDonald and Jack Horner in 2010, however, it was recently re-considered as to be either the species of its own or as a species of Styracosaurus (or perhaps a species from S. albertensis) again.

The first fossils of Styracosaurus were discovered from Alberta, Canada by C. M. Sternberg (from an area that is now called Dinosaur Provincial Park, in the formation that is now known as The Dinosaur Park Formation) and was named in 1913 by Lawrence Lambe in 1913. This quarry was examined again in 1935 by an Royal Ontario Museum crew who discovered the jaws missing from the lower jaws, as well as the bulk parts of the skull. The fossils suggest the fact that S. albertensis was about 5.5-5.8 meters (18-19 feet) in length and was approximately 1.65 meters (5.4 feet) tall at the hips. A peculiarity of the primary skull is that its most small frill spike that is located on the left is partially covered at the bottom to the spike that follows. It is believed that the frill had rupture at this time and was cut by around 6-centimeters (2.4 inches). The shape of the normal part is unclear since the area on left side was not reconstructed.

Barnum Brown and his crew working for Barnum Brown and his crew, working for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, collected a nearly fully articulated skeleton and the skull partially intact in 1915. The fossils were also discovered inside the Dinosaur Park Formation, near Steveville, Alberta. Brown as well as Erich Maren Schlaikjer compared the fossils, and even although they agreed the fact that both specimens are located in the same general area and geological formation, they deemed the specimen to be sufficiently different from the holotype for creating a brand new species and classified them as Styracosaurus parksi which was named in the honor the late William Parks. The main distinctions between the specimens described by Brown and Schlaikjer were a cheekbone different from S. albertensis and shorter tail vertebrae. S. parksi also had stronger jaws and a smaller dentary and the frill had a different shape from the species of type. But, the majority of the skull was plaster and the original paper from 1937 did not show the skull bones. The skull is now considered an illustration of S. albertensis.

At the end of June 2006 Darren Tanke of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta relocated the long-lost S. parksite. The skull’s fragments that were apparently left behind by the 1915 team were discovered inside the stone quarry. The skull was uncovered and the hope is that more pieces will be discovered possibly enough to warrant an update of the skull, and to determine the hypothesis that S. albertensis as well as S. parksi are the identical. It is believed that the Tyrrell Museum has also collected various fragments of Styracosaurus skulls. A confirmed bones bed (bonebed 42) located in Dinosaur Provincial Park has also been studied (other suggested Styracosaurus bone beds also contain fossils that are a mixture of animal remains, and also non-diagnostic ceratopsian remnants). Bonebed 42 is thought to be home to a number of skulls like jaws, horncores, and frill fragments.

Another species of S. ovatus, S. ovatus, from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana and was first identified in the work of Gilmore at the time of 1930. The fossils are comparatively small in its extent, with the finest being an area that is part of the parietal bones that forms the frill. One unique feature is that the two spikes that are closest to the midline join together towards the middleline instead of away from it, as the case with S. albertensis. It is also possible that there only been two spikes on either end of the frill rather than three. The spikes are smaller than S. albertensis which is two millimeters (11.6 inches) in length. A review in 2010 of styracosaur skull remains by Ryan, Holmes, and Russell identified it as an individual species. Then in the year 2010 McDonald and Horner classified it as a species in its own genus called Rubeosaurus.

Holmes et al. (2020) also argued they believed that proposed diagnostic characteristics of Styracosaurus Rubeosaurus and ovatus fall between the ranges of asymmetry as well as individual variation that is found among Styracosaurus albertensis. The authors believed R. the ovatus as an intermediate synonym for Styracosaurus albertensis. A different study in 2020 that describes the juvenile form of Styracosaurus also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the frill spikes for classifying. In this study, the authors, Caleb Brown, Robert Holmes along with Phillip Currie, concluded that the features used to distinguish S. Ovitus were within the range of variation found in S. albertensis. S. albertensis. They noted that a number of specimens which are in fact similar to S. albertensis have been identified with inwardly angled midline frill spikes but not in the same way as S. Ovitus. Because of the slightly higher stratigraphic location and the more angled spikes they suggested that it might simply represent an “extreme morph” of S. albertensis.

Other species assigned to Styracosaurus were later assigned to different genera. S. Sphenocerus, which was named in the work of Edward Drinker Cope in 1890 as a species belonging to Monoclonius and basing itself on a nose bone with a broken Styracosaurus-like straight nasal Horn, was identified as Styracosaurus from 1915. “S. makeli”, spoken of informally by paleontologists who were amateurs Stephen as well as Sylvia Czerkas in 1990 in the caption of an illustration, was an early designation for Einiosaurus. “S. borealis” is an early informal name for S. parksi.

Another example, MOR 492, composed of a partially skull, comprising an incomplete left premaxilla with co-ossified nasals on the left and right with horncore, a part of the left postorbital with horncore and a near-complete right parietal, with two spikes was found in 1986 and was identified as R. Ovus in 2010. A third specimen, a subadult one with extremely shorter frills (USNM 1475) was reported in the year 2011. However, further studies indicated that these specimens belong to a distinct genus as well as species called Stellasaurus ancellae.

Source: Wikipedia