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Creature of the Week #3: Centrosaurus

  • 08-12-2009 2:52pm
    Registered Users Posts: 30,746 ✭✭✭✭

    Well here we are at week 3 of Creature of the Week, and we have our first dinosaur (not to mention land lubbing animal!) and our first plant eater.
    So please welcome, by poplular user demand, Centrosaurus!
    Centrosaurus apertus, by Arthur Weasley.

    Centrosaurus was a ceratopsian dinosaur (from the same family as the famous Triceratops) some six metres (20feet) long which lived in the Cretaceous period in Alberta Canada.
    The name means 'pointed lizard', after the small hornlets around it's frill (please note it is not to be confused withthe stegosaur Kentrosaurus, whose name means the samething). Unlike Triceratops, whose frill is thick and may have been used to protect it's neck from predators, Centrosaurus' frill was hollowed out and would have been very fragile in life, so it was most likely used for display rather than defense.
    It's most striking feature is it's massive nose horn.

    There are two species of Centrosaurus. C. apertus, which had large forward pointing hornlets on it's frill and C. brinkmani, which had smaller, more knobbly hornlets.
    Centrosaurus' closest relatives were Styracosaurus and Monoclonius. In fact, they are so closely related that many believe them to be of the same genus. Some have suggested that they are male and female variations of the same animal, although Styracosaurus looks more like Centrosaurus than it does Monoclonius.
    Interestingly, both Cenrosaurus and Styracosaurus fossils have been found together in what appear to be massed herds. However, this does not mean that they are the same species as it is quite common for numerous species to co-herd in modern day Africa, such as zebras and wildebeast.
    Such is the confusion that often arises when naming dinosaurs.