2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Dinosaurs

Fossil range: Late Cretaceous
Model Styracosaurus, Bałtów Jurassic Park, Poland.
Model Styracosaurus, Bałtów Jurassic Park, Poland.
Conservation status
Extinct (fossil)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Superorder: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Marginocephalia
Infraorder: Ceratopsia
Family: Ceratopsidae
Subfamily: Centrosaurinae
Tribe: Centrosaurini
Genus: Styracosaurus
Lambe, 1913

S. albertensis
S. ovatus

Styracosaurus ('spiked lizard' from Greek styrax/στυραξ meaning 'spike at the butt-end of a spear-shaft' and saurus/σαυρος meaning 'lizard') was a herbivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous Period, about 77 to 74 million years ago. It had six long horns extending from its neck frill, a smaller horn above each of its eyes and a single horn protruding from its nose, at 60 centimeters (2 feet) long and 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide. It was a large dinosaur, reaching lengths of 5 meters (18 feet) and weighing as much as 3 tons. It stood about 1.8 meters (6 feet) tall. The 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 was most likely to have been a herd animal, traveling in large groups and caring for its young after they hatched. Evidence of herding behaviour exists in the discovery of a bone bed in Arizona, USA with about 100 Styracosaurus fossils.

Discoveries and species

The first fossil remains of Styracosaurus were collected in Alberta, Canada by C.M. Sternberg (from an area now known as the Dinosaur Provincial Park) and named by Lambe in 1913.

The second currently recognised species, S. ovatus, from Montana, was described by Gilmore in 1930. The fossil material is limited but one unusual feature is that the pair of spikes closest to the midline converge towards the midline, rather than away from it as in S. albertensis.

In popular culture

Styracosaurus has appeared in many dinosaur films, most notably The Son of Kong, The Valley of Gwangi, and Disney's Dinosaur.

Styracosaurus was featured in the Vivendi Universal game, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.

A Styracosaurus family appeared in the video game Banjo-Tooie.

In Dinosaucers, the character Styraco is an anthropomorphic Styracosaurus.

The fictional mechas Red Horn and Dark Horn of the Zoids anime are based on Styracosaurus.

Styracosaurus Species

  • S. albertensis
  • S. ovatus


  • S. parksi (limited fossil material, probably S. albertensis)
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