With a long nasal horn—and six more horns that extend out from behind its neck frill—the stout Styracosaurus cuts quite the formidable figure for an herbivore! This “spiked lizard” of the Late Cretaceous period is the subject of the second coin in the continuing Day of the Dinosaurs series, which showcases the wondrous, even fearsome qualities of Canada’s prehistoric creatures.
The reverse design by Canadian artist Julius Csotonyi features a detailed depiction of Styracosaurus albertensis, and was reviewed for scientific accuracy by palaeontologists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Bold selective colour helps bring this prehistoric species to life in extraordinary detail, while the unique perspective creates the impression that Styracosaurus is stampeding towards the viewer. The three-quarter profile provides a detailed view of its rhinoceros-like appearance, from the stout body to its four short legs. Its toothless beak is open, as though this herbivore is emitting sound. But the eye naturally wanders towards Styracosaurus’s most famous features of all: its horns and neck frill. The positioning of the dinosaur allows for a close view of the single nasal horn that gives this herbivore an intimidating appearance. Glancing towards the bony frill, the uppermost pair of horns rise up, while the lower horns are pointed to the side; even the pointed jugal horn on its cheek is visible. Surrounding this ceratopsian dinosaur is the lush, semi-tropical vegetation that dominated Alberta during the Late Cretaceous period, all rendered through finely detailed engraving.
A unique way to learn more about the species whose fossils connect us with a distant past, and the way Canada’s landscape has evolved over millions of years.