“This dinosaur, the Styracosaurus, has huge horns and a large spike similar to a rhinoceros. It also has the personality to match, It’s a herbivore, and uses those horns and a beak to break into even the toughest of plants.”
Styracosaurus is a relative of the Triceratops. It lived about 10 million years before its more famous relative. Though 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.
Styracosaurus traveled in herds and cared for its young after they hatched. Evidence for herding behavior comes from a bone bed in Arizona where fossils from over one hundred Styracosaurus individuals were discovered.
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2 meters (6 feet)
5.5 meters (18 feet)