Cambodian Temple Stegosaurus or Rhinoceros?

Some science-minded people think that the carving of a stegosaurus-like creature on an ancient Cambodian temple is really a rhinoceros.  So let's take a closer look to see if this claim holds up.  In fact, let's look at pictures of both and compare them.  Below are some of the differences that we spotted.   

Stegosaurus or Long-Tail Rhino? 


Its Tail
In proportion to its body size, the tail of the creature above appears larger than that of the rhinoceros. Its base is about 1/2 the diameter of its hind legs, and only slightly smaller than its front legs.  Its tail droops down and away from its body, and appears to touch the ground. Note also that the end of its tail is horizontal to the ground -- and that it appears to go beyond the drawing: meaning that its end is not depicted.  This explains why there are no spikes on it. 

Its Back has plates
The creature above appears to have large structures or plates all across the top of its back.  Its back also is rounded like a ball.

Its Horn is missing
 The creature above does not appear to have a horn on its snout.

Its Eye
The eye of the creature above is near the middle of its head 

Its Ears (or Frill) 
The creature above has either long pointed ears, or a frill (or shield) around the top of its head (?)

Its Hind Leg
The creature above has a hind leg-joint that is straight

Its Tail
Note that the rhinoceros' tail is quite small -- only about 1/4th -- 1/10th the size of its hind leg.  Note that it droops straight down toward the ground, and that it does not reach the ground, but appears to be about 18-24 inches above it.  In fact, the end of its tail is slightly higher from the ground than its belly.  Note also that its tail is perpendicular to the ground.

Its Back has no plates
The rhinoceros in the picture above does not appear to have any structures or plates on its back.  The rhino's back is mostly straight -- and/or horizontal to the ground.

Its Horn 
The rhino has a large horn that protrudes out from the top of its snout.  

Its Eye
The eye of the rhino is near the top of its head.

It Ears 
The rhino has no frill or shield around its head, and its ears are only slightly pointed

Its Hind Leg
The rhino's hind leg-joint points backward

See also: 
Is it a Stegosaurus  and  Is it a Chameleon?

Questions and Comments

This page was last updated on  2-08-2013