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Stegosaurus: The Roofed Lizard

Updated on October 3, 2018
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With this monster, if it swiped at a predator using its spiked tail, it would cripple it if it was ever threatened.

The head of a Stegosaurus was very small, the body was a little clumsy, and the tail was spikey. There were also two rows of bony, diamond-shaped plates along its back. These bony plates are quite large too, around the size of three or four A4 sized papers. The Stegosaurus does indeed look very fierce, but it ate mainly low-growing ferns and other certain plants. It usually lived in herds that grazed together. The dinosaur was as long as two cars and weight about the same of the weight of two cars. It had front legs which were very short and back ones were longer to support weight of its body. Basically it moved on all four legs and stumping heavily on the ground. Scientists think it could walk or run that fast and it was an easy prey by carnivores such as the Allosaurus who was faster at running.

As mentioned above, the Stegosaurus had a tiny head which measured around 35 centimeters long, which is equivalent to the size of a large dog. The small head was close to the ground so it grazed mainly on plants that were growing low on the ground. Its jaw was not strong but weak, and could only chew on soft leafy plants. It is also known that this dinosaur had a brain the size of a walnut, which meant the Stegosaurus had the smallest brain compared to its size and of any animal that ever lived during the time of the dinosaurs.

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The dinosaur had a spikey tail that was very thick and powerful, and with bony plates going down on the tail. At the end of the tail there were four spikes measuring around 1 meters long. It was thought it may have used its spikey tail to defend itself and its young from predators which came in their path. The row of bony plates on the back grew out of the dinosaur's skin. These plates could easily be torn off by a large meat-eating dinosaur. Scientists suggested that the bony plates were a unique sort of solar-heating and air-conditioning system which it used to warm or cool its body. It was thought that the dinosaur turned its so that the bony plates on the back faced the sun. This would enable the Stegosaurus to collect as much heat required in the cool early mornings. Once it was warm enough, it recharged its body so it could start moving about and also feeding.

The Stegosaurus was thought to be a colorful dinosaur according to scientists. They've suggested the bony plates on the back may have been colored very brightly. So basically, the males probably used the plates to warn off other males in the herd and to attract the females at the start of the mating season.

Stegosaurus means 'roofed lizard' derived from the Greek language 'Stegos' which means roof. Its size is estimated around 7.5 meters long, 4 meters high and weighed about 2 tons. It lived around 154 to 140 million years ago in the late Jurassic period. Its habitat was in North America especially in the Midwest of the United States.

Stegasaurus Vs Allosaurus

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    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 years ago from UK

      I remember reading about the stegosaurus when my son was younger.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      I love dinosaurs when I was a kid, and this one was one of my favourites! I had a whole collection that glowed in the dark! lol!

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