Kentrosaurus was a member of the stegosaur family, which lived in what is now central Africa. Its name means “sharp-point lizard”—its shoulders, back, and tail bore fearsome spikes that must have made it difficult for carnivores to attack.
Out of Africa
Recent research has shown that the posture of Kentrosaurus’s skeleton in many museums is incorrect. It probably held its tail off the ground and did not have sprawling legs.
ONE BRAIN OR TWO?
Scientists used to think that Kentrosaurus had two brains: a tiny one in its head and a larger one in its rear end. However, experts now think its “rear brain” was just an energy store and not a brain at all.
■ When: 156–150 million years ago (Late Jurassic)
■ Fossil location: Tanzania
■ Habitat: Forests
■ Length: 16. ft (5 m)
■ Diet: Plants
Seven pairs of plates ran along Kentrosaurus’s neck and back. It had a pair of long spikes on its shoulders to protect itself from side attacks and a series of spikes along its tail to fend off attacks from behind. An entire skull fossil has never been found, but Kentrosaurus probably had a narrow snout and tiny teeth like other stegosaurs.