Its name in Greek means “Lizard with Thorns”. The Styracosaurus lived about 70 million years ago in North America, during the Cretaceous period. One of its most important characteristics are its horns, which came out of a kind of crown around its head, it also had a horn that came out of its cheeks, as well as a very large horn where you can find its nose, this is speculated that it could measure approximately 65 centimeters long and was quite thick, up to 15 centimeters at its thickest point. The Styracosaurus was quite large, especially heavy because it could weigh up to 3 tons and measure about 2 meters. He walked on all fours and had a short tail.
It is believed that this dinosaur like its other Ceratopsian relatives lived in groups or herds, this is believed because many bones have been found together. We could compare the Styracosaurus with a rhinoceros, as they had more or less the same build, even their legs were very similar with a kind of helmet at the tips. Much has been studied about the position of their legs which were short and robust, the latest results tell us that very possibly these dinosaurs could walk faster than the current elephants, this by some tracks that were found and studied.
The remains of the Styracosaurus are native to Alberta, Canada and were found by C.M. Sternmberg. Its bones were found in a formation in which a large amount of remains have been found, which is why it is known as Dinosaur Park. It owes its name to Lawrence Lambe who put it on it in 1913. #n 1915 a second expedition was made, this time Barnum Brown and Erich Schlaikjer found a fairly complete skeleton, however it had a very damaged skull, these remains were crucial to discover more deeply the Styracosaurus. Years later, in 1935, the Ontario Museum sent an expedition in which a jawbone was found that corresponded to the partial skull found in 1915 and incredibly the rest of the skeleton that was needed, this finding allowed great advances in its description.
More recently in 2006 Darren Tanke, returned to Alberta right where the others had found the remains of the Styracosaurus and surprisingly found more pieces of his skull, it is not known for sure why they were there, what is thought is that the 1915 expedition forgot them.
We can tell the way the Styracosaurus fed from its mouth, which was a toothless beak in front and powerful molars. They were herbivores, i.e. they fed on plants, because of the position of their heads they probably fed on low plants, but another theory is that they used their horns to cut down tree branches. With their beaks they could pull the leaves off the plants, but they could not chew. Their teeth were very special, they were accommodated in what is called batteries; this means that the older and worn out teeth were replaced by new teeth that were underneath them. These teeth did not grind like those of other dinosaurs, rather they sliced, which is why it has been suggested that he ate long plants such as palms and ferns. It is even thought that he may have felled some palm-like trees to eat their leaves.
Its horns made the Styracosaurus special, it had a total of 6 horns, four of which were long and came out of the kind of crown that surrounded its head. He also had a horn on each of his cheeks and another one on his nose, this was his biggest horn, it could measure up to 65 centimeters and 15 wide, unfortunately you do not have a complete horn, but it is believed that it had a rather rounded tip. His head was extremely large and with all the horns he had it could be really threatening, the horns he had on the crown that experts call the “neck flounce” were sharp as thorns and were up to 50 centimeters long. In addition to the horns, the flounce on the neck was heavily adorned with bulging nodules, some others with bulges, some of them thought to have some extra horns. It is believed that the species S. Ovatus, had only the horns without any other type of decoration.
The use of his horns is much discussed, the first is that he needed a steering wheel to serve as an anchor for the muscles of his jaws that were very powerful and needed a foothold, perhaps the ornaments and horns were those footholds. Another theory is that he used his horns to defend himself against large predatory dinosaurs; as some of his horns were found damaged it was thought that the damage and injuries could come from his combats, however this theory was discarded because the injuries were due more to time or disease than to real combat.
It is also believed that both the horns and the steering wheel were used to help regulate his body temperature, because they increased the area of his skull slightly. It is also believed that he was able to use the horns and the steering wheel to display himself during the courtship, to impress the females.
Where else can you find him?
This is a fairly famous dinosaur, especially for all its horns, are very characteristic and easy to locate. You can find it in movies like The Son of Kong, The Valley of Gwangi, The Land Time Forgotten. He also appears in the novel Parque Jurásico. You can also see it in Power Rangers Dino Thunder Dino, Dinoplatívolos and Dinosaur King.