Stellasaurus ancellae: Ceratopsian Dinosaur With Star-Like Skull Named After David Bowie

Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Stellasaurus is thought to have roamed what is now Montana 75million years ago. Credit: SWNS:South West News Service

Stellasaurus, or star lizard, was more than 20ft long and weighed more than two tons.

It roamed what is now Montana 75million years ago and belonged to the Ceratopsians — plant-eaters that included Triceratops.

Its “star” — huge beak, horns and frills — has inspired rock fan experts to christen it after 1972 Bowie hit Starman.

Palaeontologist Jack Wilson said: “The skull ornamentation is astonishing, almost star-like.

“Ceratopsids evolved many forms of ornamentation including horns above the nose, eyes and bony frills which projected from the back.

“They were unique to each dinosaur and were ‘display structures’ for mating purposes, similar to peacock feathers.”

Stellasaurus’s fossilised skull was found in 1986 by Carrie Ancell but has only now been identified as a new species.

Mr Wilson, a PhD student at Montana State University in the US, added: “Stellasaurus lived with other dinosaurs such as T. rex and raptors.”

The dino also links two previously-known CeratopsiansStyracosaurus and Einiosaurus.