Total anky death
Extinct as can be!

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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
An artist's illustration of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
clade: Marginocephalia
Order: Ornithischia
Family: Ceratopsidae
Tribe: †Pachyrhinosaurini
Genus: Pachyrhinosaurus
Sternberg 1950
Type species
Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis
Sternberg, 1950
Referred species
  • Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis (Sternberg, 1950)
  • Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai (Currie, Langston & Tanke, 2008)
  • Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Fiorillo & Tykoski, 2012)

Pachyrhinosaurus (meaning "thick-nosed lizard") is an extinct genus of ceratopsian dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous. It was a large herbivorous ornithischian and was closely related to the more famous Triceratops. It lived alongside hadrosaurs like Edmontosaurus, ankylosaurs like Edmontonia, and tyrannosaurs like Albertosaurus. It was discovered in Alberta, Canada in 1946 by Charles Sternberg and named in 1950. Its range included Alaska and Alberta.

Discovery and species[]

Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis was described by Charles Mortram Sternberg in 1950, based on the holotype incomplete skull (NMC 8867) and the paratype incomplete skull (NMC 8866), which included the anterior part of the skull but was lacking the right lower mandible, and the "beak". These skulls were collected in 1945 and 1946 from the sandy clay of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta, Canada. In the many years to come, additional material would be recovered at the Scabby Butte locality of the St. Mary River Formation, from terrestrial sediments considered to be between 74 and 66 million years old. These were among the first dinosaur sites found in the province, in the 1880s. The significance of these discoveries wasn't understood until after World War II, when preliminary excavations were conducted. Another Pachyrhinosaurus bonebed, on the Wapiti River, was worked briefly by staff of the Royal Tyrrell Museum in the late 1980s but is now worked annually for a couple weeks each summer by the University of Alberta.


The largest species of Pachyrhinosaurus were 8 metres (26 ft) long. It weighed about four tons. They were herbivorous and possessed strong cheek teeth to help them chew tough, fibrous plants. Instead of horns, their skulls bore nasal lumps. A prominent pair of horns grew from the frill and extended upwards, and the skull also bore several smaller horns or ornaments,too.


The 3 species of Pachyrhinosaurus are centrosaurines in the tribe Pachyrhinosaurini. Pachyrostra includes Achelousaurus horneri and P.perotorum, P.lakustai and P.canadensis.



P. perotorum mounted at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

It was a herding, social animal that usually traveled in large groups. It's distinguished by the large frill on the back of its head and the thick stump on its snout. It was about 26 feet (8 meters) long and weighed 4 tons.

Like most ceratopsians, it couldn't see very well, but was also muscularly built and was designed to defend itself instead of flee. Like other ceratopsians, it had a unique frill and horn structure, with several larger horns on the outside and two smaller horns on the top of the frill. It had four muscular legs that supported its heavily built body and could probably run at about 15 mph at top speed. It had a strong beak designed to snap branches and break off ferns and other plant material.Most recent restorations of the animal feature an assumed 'pelt' of proto feathering, given that a similar climate to today's Canada would require heavy insulation. This addition is not yet confirmed, but highly speculated in a likely aspect.



The St. Mary River Formation has not undergone a definitive radiometric dating, however, the available stratigraphic correlation has shown that this formation was deposited between 74 and 66 million years ago, during the Campanian and the late Maastrichtian, during the final regression of the mid-continental Bearpaw Seaway. It ranges from as far south as Glacier County, Montana to as far north as the Little Bow River in Alberta. The St. Mary River Formation is part of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in southwestern Alberta, which extends from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Canadian Shield in the east. It is laterally equivalent to the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. The region where dinosaurs lived was bounded by mountains to the west, and included ancient channels, small freshwater ponds, streams, and floodplains.


Pachyrhinosaurus shared its paleoenvironment with other dinosaurs, such as the ceratopsians Anchiceratops and Montanoceratops, the nodosaur Edmontonia, the hadrosaur Edmontosaurus, dromaeosaurids Saurornitholestes and Troodon, possibly the ornithopod Thescelosaurus, and the tyrannosaurid Albertosaurus, which was likely the apex predator in its ecosystem. Vertebrates present in the St. Mary River Formation at the time of Pachyrhinosaurus included the actinopterygian fishes Amia fragosa, Lepisosteus, Belonostomus, Paralbula casei, and Platacodon nanus, the mosasaur Plioplatecarpus, the turtle Boremys and the diapsid reptile Champsosaurus. A fair number of mammals lived in this region, which included Turgidodon russelli, Cimolestes, Didelphodon, Leptalestes, Cimolodon nitidus, and Paracimexomys propriscus. Non-vertebrates in this ecosystem included mollusks, the oyster Crassostrea wyomingensis, the small clam Anomia, and the snail Thiara. Flora of the region include the aquatic angiosperm Trapago angulata, the amphibious heterosporous fern Hydropteris pinnata, rhizomes, and taxodiaceous conifers.

In the Media[]

  • Pachyrhinosaurus was in the 2nd episode of The 4 part PBS Program The Dinosaurs! “Flesh on the Bones”.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus was brought to life in “Dinosaurs: Messages in Stone” by Hall Train.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus was in the 2000 movie Disney's Dinosaur, where it was part of the herd and one was killed in the beginning of the movie by a Carnotaurus.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus was seen in the Nova Documentary "Arctic Dinosaurs".
  • It also starred in the popular documentary series Jurassic Fight Club, where a herd of them were shown being hunted by a pack of Albertosaurus until one Pachyrhinosaurus and one Albertosaurus were separated and they fought each other until the Pachyrhinosaurus was killed. However, it is inaccurately shown with a horn on its nose, rather than a boss. Despite that, the boss is still mentioned, being said to have been believed that it housed a gigantic horn made of either hair or keratin. Their design is heavily based on another ceratopsian, Achelousaurus, as revealed by the skull shape and hornlets.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus also featured in the 8th episode and some TV episodes of Land Before Time as "Mr. Thicknose".
  • It's also made a cameo in Dinosaur King. However, it has a horn like structure, something the actual creature did not have.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus was planned to appear in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom official trailers, but it was changed to Sinoceratops. However, while not in the trailers so far, it has been revealed that there are surviving Pachyrhinosaurus populations on Isla Nublar, although they will now face an impending danger, alongside many other creatures, in the form of an erupting volcano. It is possible that Pachyrhinosaurus was saved offscreen. Its name appears o list, implying that at least one Pachyrhinosaurus and possibly others of it's kind was captured offscreen, and may have also escaped, or had been sold off at the Lockwood Manor auction.
  • It along with the famous chasmosaurine Triceratops were the inspiration of the Ferructus in the 2005 remake of King Kong.
800px-Dossier Pachyrhinosaurus

ARK: Survival Evolved Pachyrhinosaurus

  • It is one of the creatures in ARK: Survival Evolved. In real life, Pachyrhinosaurus was approximately 8 metres long and weighted around four tonnes, with a pattern of horns that's much less elaborate than the one illustrated in the dossier. It also didn't release chemicals in self-defense, instead charging the enemy, much like it's better known cousin did.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus makes an appearance on Curiosity Stream's Amazing Dinoworld episode 1, The Feathered Revolution where it inaccurately has an oversized nasal horn and Dino Hunt.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus is one of the dinosaurs in Jurassic World: The Game. It is a legendary tournament herbivore. Originally, along with the Kentrosaurus, it was a tournament dinosaur that did not yet have a tournament to fight in and could only only be collected by buying the Earth WWF pack. Now since March 8th, 2018, it could be won in a Pachyrhinosaurus tournament.
  • Pachyrhinosaurus was seen on the 2022 PBS NOVA episode Alaskan dinosaurs.