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Friday, July 6, 2007

Styracosaurus

Model Styracosaurus on display at Bałtów Jurassic Park, Poland.
Styracosaurus (meaning 'spiked lizard') was a genus of herbivorousceratopsian dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period (Campanian stage), about 74 to 72 million years ago. It had four to six long horns extending from its neck frill, a smaller horn on each of its cheeks and a single horn protruding from its nose, which was around 60 centimeters (2 ft) long and 15 centimeters (6 in) wide. The function or functions of the horns and frills have been the subject of debate for many years. Styracosaurus was a large dinosaur, reaching lengths of 5.5 meters (18 ft) and weighing nearly 3 tons. It stood about 1.8 meters (6 ft) tall. Styracosaurus possessed four short legs and a bulky body. Its tail was rather short. It also had a beak and flat cheek teeth, indicating that its diet was herbivorous. Like other ceratopsians, this dinosaur may have been a herd animal, traveling in large groups, as suggested by bonebeds. Named by Lawrence Lambe in 1913, Styracosaurus is a member of the Centrosaurinae. Three species, S. albertensis, S. ovatus, and S. parksi are currently assigned to Styracosaurus, though the last species may be synonymous with S. albertensis. Other species assigned to the genus have since been reassigned elsewhere.

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