Learn Before You Go
- Scientific Name: Styracosaurus
- Pronunciation: sty-RACK-o-SAWR-us
- Name Means: Spiked lizard
- Diet: Herbivore
- Fossils Found: Arizona and Alberta, Canada
- Wikipedia: Styracosaurus
One is the Loneliest Number
Styracosaurus are often assumed to be herd animals because a bonebed was found with fossils from many Styracosaurus individuals. However this bonebed also had many river deposits so it's possible that there was a mass death of normally non-herding animals collected a waterhole.
Our budget limited the number of sculptures we could build, so we chose to showcase a lone Styracosaurus on the trail. This Styracosaurus is not a particularly large specimen and we tried to create the scene of a young and inexperienced animal, perhaps having wandered away from its herd. Likely a vulnerable dinosaur such as this would have been attractive prey for an Albertosaurus, which we placed across the path.
What's the Point?
There is still some question among paleontologists about the function of the horns and frills of the Styracosaurus
and other ceratopsians. While their horns were once thought to be weapons for use in combat, some paleontologists now theorize
they may have just been identity badges that helped distinguish species.
Did Styracosaurus Have Good Posture?
We know what their horns looked like due to direct fossil evidence, but how do we know what their posture was like? Scientists can study the muscle attachment points on the fossils to determine how the bones likely went together. For ceratopsians, like Styracosaurus
, there had been some question as to whether they stood straight-legged or with their legs bent and out to the sides. The leading theory
now is that they stood with their legs slightly bent, but not as far out to the sides as crocodiles, because otherwise they would have had problems with dislocated shoulders.