Stegosaurus (Roof lizard)
Othniel Charles Marsh - 1877
Estimated 9 meters long
S. stenops (type), S. ungulatus, S. sulcatus
USA, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, mostly associated with the Morrison Formation. Portugal – Alcobaça Formation
Late Jurassic, 155-150 million years ago
Stegosaurus is a genus of stegosaurid dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, about 155 to 150 million years ago. The name “Stegosaurus” means “roof lizard”, referring to the large bony plates that run along the animal’s back like a row of roof tiles.
Stegosaurus is one of the most easily recognizable dinosaurs due to its distinctive bony plates and spiked tail. The plates are made of bone and were covered with keratin, forming a sort of armor that may have protected the animal from predators. The spikes on its tail, known as thagomizers, could be used to defend itself against predators.
Stegosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that had a small head and a relatively long neck. It grew to be about 9 meters (30 feet) in length and weighed up to 2.7 metric tons (3 short tons). Despite its large size, Stegosaurus had a relatively small brain, which is often cited as an example of the idea that brain size does not necessarily correlate with intelligence.
There is still much debate among paleontologists as to the exact function of Stegosaurus’ bony plates. Some scientists believe that the plates were used to regulate body temperature by absorbing or reflecting sunlight, while others think that they may have been used for display to attract mates or intimidate rivals.
Stegosaurus is known from many well-preserved fossils found in North America and Europe. Its distinctive appearance and relative abundance have made it a popular subject of scientific research and a well-known icon of prehistoric life.