Build & Characteristics
- Stegosaurus means “Roof Lizard” or “Plated Lizard” due to the plates and spikes that covered its back.
- Measured approximately 30 feet long (9 meters) and 10 feet tall (3.5 meters) and weighed 3-4 tons or 6,000-8,000 lbs. meaning these animals could weigh as much as a modern white Rhino or an Asian Elephant.
- Stegosaurus was a Quadruped (four legged) herbivore (plant eater).
- These animals had an arched back, short forelimbs, small head, tiny brain, a double row of plates (17 all together) along its back, and two pairs of long spikes near the end of their tails.
- The plates along its back weren’t part of its skeleton, they sat embedded in the skin.
- These plates remained a mystery on how they functioned until 2010, after a study of another plated dinosaur showed a keratin (like the stuff that makes up your fingernails) sheath which would have provided a sharp cutting edge. Some scientists believe the Stegosaurus moved these plates side to side to threaten potential predators with a face full of sharp spikes, much like a modern day porcupine would.
- Lived during the late Jurassic (156-140 million years ago)
- Stegosaurus would have lived in flat plains with wet and dry seasonal changes with plenty of green algae, fungi, and other low plant material.
- The diet has been theorized consisting of mosses, ferns, horsetails, cycads, and fruits.
- Stegosaurus was discovered during the Great Dinosaur rush around 1877, and was given its name by Othniel Charles Marsh. The first remains were discovered in Morrison, Colorado.
- Other fossilized remains have been discovered in North America, Europe, India, China, and Africa.