Stegosaurus Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Stegosaurus
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Stegosaurus



dinosaur picture stegosaurus

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Ornithischia
  Suborder Thyreophora
  Infraorder Stegosauria
  Family Stegosauridae
  Genus Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived in North America and Europe (the first European specimen was found in Portugal in 2006) during the late Jurassic period, about 155 to 144 million years ago. The creature's name, which was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1877, means "roof lizard".

Stegosaurus was up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) long. An average Stegosaurus was around 20 feet (6.1 meters) long, and weighed 2 tons. Stegosaurus had much longer hind legs than forelegs, and very strong muscles around its hips. So, although Stegosaurus walked on all fours, it is thought likely that the animal could have lifted its forelegs off the ground to eat from the branches of trees.

Stegosaurus bony plates on its back that could have been used for protection, and possibly temperature regulation. The largest of the plates were over 2 feet (60 centimeters) high. Nobody is absolutely sure how the plates on the back were arranged, because the plates have never been found still attached to the skeleton. Some scientist believe the plates may have lay flat on the skin. However, most scientists believe the plates stood erect on the back, and were arranged in pairs or a zigzag pattern. Stegosaurus also had pairs of spikes on its tail which were about 3 feet (0.9 meters) long. There were several species of Stegosaurus, and the number of tail spikes varied between Stegosaurus species.

One unusual feature of Stegosaurus, which was first noted by Othniel C. Marsh, is that the animal had a large canal in the hip region of the spinal chord, that could have accommodated a structure about 20 times larger than the creature's brain. There has been a lot of speculation about this region, including the idea that dinosaurs like Stegosaurus had a second "brain" which controlled reflexes in the rear of the animal. A more recent idea about this, is that canal accommodated a glycogen body, a structure which is also found in some living birds.

Stegosaurus has been designated the official state fossil of Colorado, since 1982.


Stegosaurus Timeline:

Stegosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 155 to 144 million years ago

Stegosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 155 to 144 million years ago

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Stegosaurus Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Stegosaurus:
  1. Stegosaurus was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Stegosaurus" means "roof lizard". This name was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1877.

  3. Stegosaurus was a member of the Ornithischia ("bird-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Stegosaurus was not closely related to birds, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Stegosaurus lived between about 155 million years ago and 144 million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

  5. Stegosaurus lived in North America and Europe.

  6. Stegosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater).

  7. Stegosaurus was typically about 20 feet (6.1 meters) long, but some animals grew up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) long.

  8. Stegosaurus weighed about 2 tons.

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