The remains of Centrosaurus were first noted in Alberta by palaeontologist Lawrence Lambe in 1904. Even today, most of the known remains come from the badlands of the Red Deer River.

The skull alone was more than one meter (three ft) long, with a single forward thrust nasal horn and small growths over each eye. Bony growths decorated the edge of its frill, and protective tongues of bone drooped over the two large frill openings. Some specimens have been discovered with skin impressions.

Like Chasmosaurus, the frill was not solid bone; two large openings on either side reduced the weight considerably, and provided edges for powerful jaw muscles to be attached.

Centrosaurus may have lived in herds for protection from predators such as Albertosaurus.