Pronunciation: KEN-tro-SOR-us Meaning: Spiky lizard Author/s: Hennig (1915) Synonyms: None known First Discovery: Kindope, Tanzania Chart Position: 86
Of all the Jurassic period dinosaurs unearthed in Tanzania during the famous Werner Janensch-led Tendaguru expeditions between 1909 and 1912 Kentrosaurus gets the least love, which is a bit unfair though not particularly suprising. It isn't a theropod — the carnivorous critters that get the lion's share of attention from most paleontologists most of the time, and although a four-legged herbivore it isn't a sauropod — the huge, barrel bodied, long-neck-and-tailed plant munchers who are everyone's second favourites. No, Kentrosaurus is a stegosaurid — the "roof lizards" who represent one branch of the ornithischian dinosaurs known as thyreophorans, and just for being armoured it really should be more popular than it is.
(Pointed lizard from Africa) EtymologyKentrosaurus is derived from the Greek words "kentron" (spur, point or prickle), and "sauros" (lizard), named for the spikes on its shoulder, back and tail.
The species epithet, aethiopicus, denotes its place of origin. Due to Lambe's earlier named centrosaurine, Centrosaurus, and a misunderstanding of the rules of nomenclature, a panic stricken Hennig added an extra "ur" to his Kentrosaurus (making it Kentrurosaurus) in 1916, and Franz Nopcsa almost simultaneously renamed it Doryphorosaurus. Although derived from the same Greek words, Kentrosaurus begins with a "K" so both names can stand and the panic was all for nought.
DiscoveryThe first remains of Kentrosaurus were discovered at Tendaguru Quarry "St" in the Middle Dinosaur Member of the Tendaguru Formation, Kindope, Tanzania, by German paeontologist Edwin Hennig.
Of the thousands of remains discovered Hennig did not define a Holotype. However, he nominated the most complete partial skeleton as a lectotype in his 1925 monograph. Unfortunately, this and almost all known specimens were lost, presumed blown up during World War II.