Fun Stellasaurus Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Nov 29, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Sep 28, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Discover interesting Stellasaurus facts including details about its fossil remains and evidence, holotype specimen, bone texture, partial skull, horns, parietal bar, anagenesis evolution, lineage, and how David Bowie is related to it.
?
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Stellasaurus is an extinct genus of Centrosaurine ceratopsid dinosaurs belonging to the Ceratopsidae family. Its name is derived from the Latin word 'stella', which means star - a reference made to the star-shaped frill and horns on its head ornamentation. Its name means star lizard. Its fossils were discovered by paleontologist Carrie Ancell back in 1986, near the town of Cut Bank, in Alberta. This dinosaur lived during the Late Cretaceous near the Two Medicine Formation of Montana. The fossil material of this dinosaur of the Centrosaurinae subfamily was studied by John P.‭ ‬Wilson,‭ ‬‭Michael. J. Ryan, and Davis C.‭ ‬Evans‭. To be specific they worked on the cranial material i.e. the skull ornamentation, and the neck frill. Previously the ‬specimens with the neck frill with partial horns were assigned under the Centrosaurine taxon of Rubeosaurus ovatus. However, the skull ornamentation seen on this new species is intermediate, therefore Jack Horner, a well-known paleontologist, suggested that it was the member of a single, evolving lineage (a case of anagenesis). Read on to find out more about this Centrosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur including how it is related to David Bowie and the 'evolution of the‭ ‬Styracosaurus-line‭'!

Learn about some other pre-historic creatures from our Beibeilong facts and Bruhathkayosaurus facts pages.

Stellasaurus Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Stellasaurus'?

The word Stellasaurus is pronounced as 'stel-lah-sor-us'. The species was described by John P.‭ ‬Wilson,‭ ‬Michael J.‭ ‬Ryan‭, and ‬Davis C.‭ ‬Evans‭.

What type of dinosaur was a Stellasaurus?

The scientific classification of this dinosaur is as follows - class ‬Reptilia, superorder Dinosauria,‭ order ‬Ornithischia, family ‬Ceratopsidae, subfamily Centrosaurinae, and type species of Stellasaurus ancellae. Stellasaurus is grouped with the Ceratopsidae in the Centrosaurinae family as researchers and paleontologists state that the species is not only related to Styracosaurus albertensis and Einiosaurus, but also Rubeosaurus ovatus (Styracosaurus). The discovery of this dinosaur has helped paleontologists clear several doubts regarding the evolution of Ceratopsids living in these formations. However, researchers took quite some time identifying this dinosaur as the transitional form between Styracosaurus albertensis and Einiosaurus on the evolutionary line led directly to Achelousaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus. The holotype was initially classified as a distinct taxon in 1992 and later grouped with Rubeosaurus. Recently, in 2020 a re-evaluation of the specimens made it possible to name and classify them as a new genus. It was classified by‬‭ ‬John P.‭ ‬Wilson, Michael J.‭ ‬Ryan‭, and ‬Davis C.‭ ‬Evans‭

In which geological period did the Stellasaurus roam the earth?

‬Stellasaurus (star lizard) is a genus of Centrosaurine Ceratopsian dinosaur living during the Late Cretaceous.

When did the Stellasaurus become extinct?

They went extinct during the K-T mass extinction nearly 65 million years ago.

Where did a Stellasaurus live?

Given that its fossils were recovered from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana, in North America, it's clear that their distribution occupied the same region.

What was a Stellasaurus' habitat?

This dinosaur lived near regions that provided it with plenty of food and water i.e. forests, riversides, floodplains, and swamps.

Who did a Stellasaurus live with?

The social life and behavior of this dinosaur are unknown.

How long did a Stellasaurus live?

The life span of this creature is unknown.

How did they reproduce?

They reproduced via sexual reproduction. Males would deposit their sperm inside females, who would later lay fertilized eggs containing developing dinosaur embryos. They built nests by digging burrows in the soil and laid giant eggs which had a hard layered shell. All the eggs were usually amniotic, meaning the fetus was covered by a membrane which helped in its protection as well as supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the fetus.

Stellasaurus Fun Facts

What did a Stellasaurus look like?

Similar to other Centrosaurine ceratopsid dinosaurs, Stellasaurus ancellae had complex neck frill, or intermediate skull ornamentation and was closely related to Eucentrosaurs, and some believe it to be a descendant of the species. Jack Horner, an American paleontologist studied the right side of the frill and revealed that it had elongate nasal horns that curved inwards, towards its eyes. The supraorbital region, i.e. the area above the eye sockets was similar to Styracosaurus albertensis. It also had a sharp parrot-like beak. Stellasaurus had adorned eyes and nose crests.

Fun facts about the evolution of S. ancellae, Stellasaurus, star lizard, previously referred to as Styracosaurus ovatus, which is known for its star-like frill.
We've been unable to source an image of Stellasaurus and have used an image of Styracosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Stellasaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

How many bones did a Stellasaurus have?

The fossil remains recovered were scanty and therefore the total number of bones present in this dinosaur is unknown. The fossil material discovered (holotype MOR 492) consists of the partial skull, near-complete paired and fused nasals, partial left postorbital, partial left premaxilla, left lateral parietal bar, midline parietal bar, and associated supraorbital ornamentation of this Centrosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur.

How did they communicate?

Communication among creatures that roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous era is still a mystery but many scientists over the past decades have come up with several theories that suggest possible ways these animals communicated, such as vocalization and body language.

How big was a Stellasaurus?

Unfortunately, the fossil remains recovered were scanty and not enough to provide any insight into the size of this creature

How fast could a Stellasaurus move?

The speed rate of these dinosaurs is unknown.

How much did a Stellasaurus weigh?

Since only a partial skull, parietal bar, midline parietal bar, and other fragments of its skeleton were recovered from the Two Medicine Formation the weight of this dinosaur is unknown.

What were the male and female names of the species?

Female dinosaurs are called saura, whereas the males are called saurus.

What would you call a baby Stellasaurus?

Stellasaurus ancellae babies can be referred to as hatchlings.

What did they eat?

Since they were herbivores their diet mainly consisted of plants and fruits.

How aggressive were they?

Scientists speculate that it wasn't necessarily aggressive, but were good at defending themselves thanks to their horns.

Did you know...

Experts often mistook several traits of the discovered holotype, and some even suggest that Stellasaurus had osteoderms similar to Styracosaurus on its skin.

Where was the Stellasaurus discovered?

The fossils of this dinosaur were first discovered near the border between the USA and Canada, by Carrie Ancell, in 1986. However, until recently these fossils remained unexamined in museum archives and the dinosaur was nicknamed as ‘Bowie dino', a reference made to David Bowie's career. After several studies and re-examinations, Stellasaurus has finally declared a new species. Stellasaurus ancellae is the only type and species under this genus, and its remains were found in the Two Medicine Formation (the Late Campanian age), which is also known for the discovery of Rubeosaurus (Styracosaurus), Achelousaurus, and Einiosaurus! The dinosaur was classified and identified by Michael Ryan from Carleton University, John Wilson from Montana State University, and David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum.

What song is Stellasaurus named after?

Stellasaurus (star lizard) is named after David Bowie's song Starman. The species was named so because researchers felt that, similar to David Bowie's career, it took quite some time to become popular, or famous. The specific name ancellae honors Carrie Ancell, who discovered and presented the holotype specimens of S. ancellae, Achelousaurus horneri, and Einiosaurus procurvicornis.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Dracoraptor fun facts, or Eolambia facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Stellasaurus coloring pages.

 

Main image by Lukas Panzarin.

Second image by Jakub Hałun.

We've been unable to source an image of Stellasaurus and have used an image of Rubeosaurus instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Stellasaurus, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

Stellasaurus Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plants, leaves, fruits

what Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

What Did They Look Like?

Star-like frill ornamentation, horned dinosaurs

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

Skin Type

Bumpy scales

How Long Were They?

N/A

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

‬Reptilia

Genus

Stellasaurus

Family

Ceratopsidae

Scientific Name

Stellasaurus ancellae

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Forests, riversides, swaps, grasslands

Where Did They Live?

Two Medicine Formation, Montana, North America
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction