Pronunciation: SEN-tro-SOR-us Meaning: Sharp Pointed Lizard Author/s: Lambe (1904) Synonyms: See below First Discovery: Alberta, Canada Chart Position: 64
EtymologyCentrosaurus (Pointed lizard) is derived from the Greek "kentron" (point or prickle) and "sauros" (lizard). This isn't a reference to its huge nose horn (an unknown feature when it was named) but to the two hook shaped prongs on the apex of its frill. Due to a misunderstanding of the rules of nomenclature, a panic stricken Hennig added an extra "ur" to his later-named stegosaurid Kentrosaurus (Kentrurosaurus) in 1916 and Franz Nopcsa almost simultaneously renamed it Doryphorosaurus. Although derived from the same Greek words as Centrosaurus, Kentrosaurus begins with a "k" which is enough to separate the two, so the panic was all for nought. In 1989 Chure and McIntosh unnecessarily coined Eucentrosaurus as a replacement for Centrosaurus, believing Fitzinger had assigned that name to a horned toad in 1843.
DiscoveryThe first fossil of Centrosaurus was the holotype skull (NMC 971) from Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada, which Lawrence Lambe originally assigned to Monoclonius dawsoni in 1902. Although now known from many specimens of all age ranges (some with skin impressions) and vast Dinosaur Provincial Park bonebeds ("The Hilda Mega-Bonebed") where thousands of individuals died together, perhaps during a failed river crossing, not a single Centrosaurus specimen has been discovered outside of Alberta.