The Dacentrurus was a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period. It was one of the last dinosaurs to exist before the mass extinction that wiped out all dinosaurs. The Dacentrurus is one of the best-known dinosaurs, and its fossil remains have been found in many parts of the world.

Key Facts

Dacentrurus pronunciationdah-sen-troo-russ
What does Dacentrurus mean?Pointed tail
Dinosaur typeStegosauria
On the menuHerbivorous
Length8 meters (26 feet)
Height2.3 m ( 8 feet )
Weight2 tons (about 4500 lbs)
Life expectancy15 years
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedLate Jurassic era 154-150 million years ago
Where they have been found?England, France, Portugal, United Kingdom

When & Where

The Dacentrurus was discovered and described by fossil hunter Richard Owen in 1875. Its name means “pointed tail lizard”, which in this case refers to the large spiked tail the dinosaur possesses. Dacentrurus was originally known as Omosaurus based on a skeleton that was discovered in a clay pit in Swindon, England. This, however, had to be changed in 1902 as the name was already used to describe a crocodile species.

Size & Weight

Finds of Dacentrurus have been minimal over the years; hence its appearance is not completely known. However, based on available remains, the Dacentrurus is pictured as having been a massive creature that measured up to 30 feet in length and weighed over two tons. It had a long neck and tail, and its body was covered in armor-like plates. 

Mobility & Diet

Due to its size and weight, the Dacentrurus is thought to have been a slow and sluggish creature. It was a herbivorous dinosaur and probably fed on low-lying plants and shrubs. The fossil distribution of Dacentrurus is wide as, only recently, five historical specimens were unearthed in Portugal. This is an addition to the specimens collected all across Europe in countries such as England, Spain, and France. 

Interesting Points

  • Dacentrurus was the first Stegosaurus to be discovered and described in 1875. 
  • In 1902, its genus (Omosaurus) was renamed Dacentrus as the name Omosaurus was already used to identify a crocodile species. 
  • Dacentrurus was one of the most popular dinosaurs spread across modern-day Europe. 
  • Well-preserved eggs of the Dacentrurus were recently discovered in Portugal.

Featured Image Credit: Danny Cicchetti, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons