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Ceratopsians have had a long presence in dinosaur popular culture, but it seems like only a few species are ever used. Usually it’s Triceratops…
Because everyone loves Triceratops.
…but if the film makers want to get a bit more creative they have a few other options. If Triceratops isn’t around, chances are you will be seeing Styracosaurus instead.
If the film makers want to be REALLY creative, they still have a few more ceratopsians they can pull out from the stock pool. Pachyrhinosaurus has been used a lot recently…
…as has Torosaurus.
Or Triceratops-lite, as I like to call him.
And if you REALLY want to push the boundaries, you can always use Chasmosaurus.
But wait, what if you want to use that one horned ceratopsian, the one that kind of looks like a Styracosaurus but without the spiky things on the back of it’s head? Yeah, what if you want to use that one? Well my friends, that is when you use…
God Dang it!
Yes, this blog post is about the unsung hero known as Centrosaurus. This dinosaur has appeared several times in children’s books about dinosaurs, but it’s presence on the television and movie screens have been wrongfully taken from him from his little brother Monoclonius.
And I mean ‘little brother’ literally.
Monoclonius is now thought by scientists to be nothing more than a juvenile Centrosaurus, meaning the two terms are interchangeable. However, whenever Centrosaurus is used in popular media, it’s almost always under the name Monoclonius. This includes documentaries…
…even freaking Dinosaur King!
Thankfully, Centrosaurus is represented as well.
So, why is is that Centrosaurus is used so much less than Monoclonius?
Well, I have a couple of theories.
Monoclonius is one of those classic sounding dinosaur names that, even though they aren’t technically used by science anymore, are still used a lot because of nostalgia reasons (Brontosaurus, Trachodon, and Stenonychosaurus also come to mind). Monoclonius is a really cool sounding name, and in all honesty, a much better name then Centrosaurus. Centrosaurus, in comparison, is very boring sounding. There is nothing really special about it, ont to mention how many times it’s confused with Ceratosaurus.
Not the same dinosaur, guys.
One other reason I think is because Monoclonius has some iconic paintings under it’s belt.
This famous painting by the great and often copied Zdenek Burian pictures not a Centrosaurus, but a Monoclonius. This painting has been the base for many Monoclonius reconstructions. Just look how similar the Dino Riders Monoclonius is to this painting!
If Burian had labeled that image ‘Centrosaurus’ instead, perhaps we would be seeing more of it instead of Monoclonius.
Or not because Centrosaurus is boring.
Still, we need Centrosaurus to have more media roles. The only time I can really remember when this dinosaur was used as Centrosaurus was in the documentary Planet Dinosaur.
This really shouldn’t be the case, because Centrosaurus is one of the best known of the ceratopsians, with many complete specimens known from it. It really doesn’t deserve the shoddy treatment it has been given, and I think it’s time we rectify that. And who knows, maybe it will open the door for even more obscure ceratopsians to be given more roles.
There is so much variety in ceratopsians, we shouldn’t be limited to three species.
Join me next time as I look into something you think would be impossible to make boring but somehow is.
Dinotopia (Mini Series) is next.
Hey look, a Chasmosaurus. They’re learning.