Prehistoric Earth Wiki
Kentrosaurus illustration
Vital statistics
Scientific Name Kentrosaurus aethiopicus
Length 5 metres
Height 1.5 metres
Weight 1.5 tonnes
Diet Herbivorous
Lived 150 million years ago
Range Tanzania

Kentrosaurus ("prickled lizard"[1]) was a stegosaurid dinosaur from the Jurassic Period of Tanzania.


Kentrosaurus measured about 5 metres in length.[2] It was covered with a multitude of different spikes and plates on its shoulders and tail, and running down its back.[3]


There is only one known species of Kentrosaurus, K. aethiopicus.


Fossils of Kentrosaurus were found in the Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania in 1909, and they were described by the German paleontologist Edwin Hennig in 1915.[4] There was initial confusion over the name, because it looked very similar to the name Centrosaurus, which belonged to a North American ceratopsian. To remedy this, Hennig renamed the animal Kentrurosaurus[5], while the Hungarian paleontologist Franz Nopcsa renamed it Doryphorosaurus.[6] However, as the spelling and pronunciation of both names are different, the replacement names were unnecessary, and Kentrosaurus remains the valid name in use today.

During subsequent years, several other specimens were found, but many of these were destroyed during World War II.[7]



Kentrosaurus was a herbivore, like other stegosaurids. It was likely a low-level browser,[8] although it may have been able to rear up on its hind legs to reach the vegetation of trees.[9]


  1. Liddell, Henry George and Robert Scott (1980). A Greek-English Lexicon (Abridged Edition). United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-910207-4.
  2. Janensch, W. (1925). "Ein aufgestelltes Skelett des Stegosauriers Kentrurosaurus aethiopicus HENNIG 1915 aus den Tendaguru-Schichten Deutsch-Ostafrikas." ("A mounted skeleton of the Stegosaur Kentrurosaurus aethiopicus HENNIG 1915 from the Tendaguru layers of German East Africa.") Palaeontographica Supplement 7:257-276.[German]
  3. Hennig, E. (1925). "Kentrurosaurus aethiopicus. Die Stegosaurier-Funde vom Tendaguru, Deutsch-Ostafrika." ("Kentrurosaurus aethiopicus. The Stegosaur find from Tendaguru, German East-Africa") Palaeontographica Supplement 7:101-254German
  4. Hennig, E. (1915). "Kentrosaurus aethiopicus, der Stegosauride des Tendaguru." ("Kentrosaurus aethiopicus, the stegosaur of Tendaguru") Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin 1915:219-247 German
  5. Hennig, E. (1916). "Zweite Mitteilung über den Stegosauriden vom Tendaguru" ("Second report on the stegosaurid of Tendaguru"). Sitzungsberichte der Gesellschaft Naturforschender Freunde zu Berlin 1916(6):175–182 German
  6. Nopcsa, F. (1915). "Die Dinosaurier der Siebenbürgischen Landesteile Ungarns." ("The dinosaurs of the Siebenbürgen part of the Hungarian Empire"). Mitteilungen aus dem Jahrbuche der Königlich Ungarischen Geologischen Reichsanstalt 23:1–26 German
  7. Maier, G. African Dinosaurs Unearthed. The Tendaguru Expeditions. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana.
  8. Weishampel DB (1984). "Interactions between Mesozoic Plants and Vertebrates: Fructifications and seed predation". N. Jb. Geol. Paläontol. Abhandl. 167: 224–250.
  9. Mallison, H. (2010). "CAD assessment of the posture and range of motion of Kentrosaurus aethiopicus HENNIG 1915" Swiss Journal of Geosciences online first: