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Kentrosaurus

KEN - tro - SAW - rus

Stegosauria/Stegosauridae
Copyright 2007

Field Notes

Name Means: "Spiky lizard"
Length: 16 feet (4.9 m)
Diet: Herbivore (Plant-Eater)
Time: Late Jurassic
Location: Tanzania

Among the many important and beautifully preserved dinosaurs to be recovered from the Tendaguru Hills dinosaur find in Tanzania were hundreds of bones of the armored dinosaur Kentrosaurus. Although it is superficially similar to its larger American cousin Stegosaurus, there are many subtle differences between the two. Kentrosaurus is probably more closely related to the contemporary Chinese stegosaur Tuojiangosaurus and the slightly younger Wuerhosaurus.

Kentrosaurus had as many as seven pairs of spikes extending from the end of the tail, up over the hips, and onto the lower back. In front of the spikes were seven pairs of plates extending forward to the neck. The plates were smaller and much narrower than those of Stegosaurus. Both the plates and spikes were arranged in two rows and appear to have been paired rather than staggered. There was also a pair of spikes on the shoulders.

Kentrosaurus was named by the German paleontologist Edwin Henning in 1915, as World War 1 raged, It is ironic that it became one of the many fossil victims of World War 11. One of the two skeletons of Kentrosaurus that were pieced together from the hundreds of bones taken back to Germany was on display in the Humboldt Museum in Berlin and was destroyed during Allied bombing of the city. it has since been replaced by a copy of the second skeleton, which is still on display in Tubingen. The illustration is based on this skeleton but recent evidence from China places the pelvic spike now on the shoulder.

Kentrosaurus fed close to the ground, using a cropping beak at the front of the mouth and small chomping teeth further back. It lived on the banks of the estuary of a huge river system.

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