The Kentrosaurus is a primitive stegosaurus dinosaur from the Upper Jurassic Period. It was discovered in the Lindi Region of Tanzania and named by Edwin Hennin, a German Palaeontologist, in 1915. A close relative of the Stegosaurus, the Kentarosaurus is pictured to have had plates and sharp spikes on its body hence the meaning behind its name; Spiked lizard.

Key facts

Kentrosaurus pronunciationken-TROH-sore-us
What does Kentrosaurus mean?Spiky lizard
Dinosaur typeAnkylosauria
On the menuHerbivorous
Length16 ft (5 meters)
Height7 ft (2 meters)
WeightAbout 1100 lbs (500 kg)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speed24 km/h (15 mph)
When they livedUpper Jurassic era 155-150 million years ago
Where they have been found?Tanzania

When & Where

Expeditions carried out in the Tendaguru Formation in German East Africa (present-day Tanzania) during the early 1900s led to the discovery of hundreds of bones belonging to the Kentrosaurus

The first fossils were discovered in 1909 by a German expedition. Based on the partial remains, Werner Janensch was able to identify the dinosaur as a stegosaur. Later in 1915, German paleontologist Edwin Hennig described and named this discovery Kentrosaurus. Hennig also added the species name aethiopicus to signify the African origin of the dinosaur. The area of discovery of Kentrosaurus remains indicates that the dinosaur lived along the banks of a large river, among other dinosaurs. 

Size & Weight

The Kentrosaurus was a massive creature estimated to have weighed close to 1500 kilograms (3,500 lb) and measured 4-5 meters (15ft). Due to its size, the Kentrosaurus spent most of its time either grazing or looking for grazing areas. It is thought to have swallowed plant matter in large chunks as its minimal teeth allowed for limited chewing. 

Mobility & Diet

Scary as it may have looked, the Kentrosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that fed on low-lying plant matter. Its fossil structure indicates that it had a toothless beak and few cheek teeth, which would have made it impossible for it to feed on anything other than vegetation. It had longer hind legs that enabled it to feed on foliage higher up in the trees. 

The Kentrosaurus moved on both 4 feet, but it could also stand on two legs for longer periods. Its ideal speed is estimated at 8kph. 

Interesting Points

  • It had a very sharp sense of smell.
  • Although the Kentrosaurus had scary pointed protrusions on its body, its tail was much more dangerous. It is speculated that the Kentrosaurus could swing its spiked tail at a speed of over 50km an hour. 
  • It was preyed on by few predators, if almost none, because of its intimidating appearance.
  • The Kentrosaurus spent most of its active time eating or searching for something to eat. 
  • Its earliest fossils were destroyed during the 2nd World War in a bombing carried out in Berlin.

Featured Image Credit: Nobu Tamura, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons