Stegosaurus Facts for Kids

Stegosaurus, a big, slow-moving herbivore, would have used its formidable spiky tail to protect itself against predators such as Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus. Let’s find out more about this herbivorous dinosaur in our post on Stegosaurus facts for kids.

Stegosaurus Facts: 1-8

1. In December 2014, the Museum’s Earth Hall featured the most complete Stegosaurus skeleton ever discovered.

2. This magnificent specimen, identified as a member of the species Stegosaurus stenops, is assisting researchers in gaining fresh insights into what Stegosaurus would have looked like in its prime, as well as how it moved, ate, and behaved.

3. The Stegosaurus was discovered in the north of Morriso, Colorado, in the United States of America in 1877.

4. The name Stegosaurus is pronounced as “STEG-uh-SAWR-us”.

5. A Stegosaurus is estimated to weigh between 5 and 7 tons. It was estimated to reach a length of up to 29 feet. It was a herbivore that preyed on plants close to the ground.

6. They existed approximately 150 and 155 million years ago during the Late Jurassic era.

7. Predators did not find the Stegosaurus an easy meal. A Stegosaurus’s plates on its back and barbed tail provided a great defense against predators.

8. Paleontologists refer to the spiky tail of the Stegosaurus as a Thagomizer, after a 1982 Far Side cartoon.

Stegosaurus Facts: 9-16

9. They possessed a walnut-sized brain!

10. Stegosaurus derives from the Greek meaning “roofed lizard,” reflecting nineteenth-century paleontologists’ view that this dinosaur’s plates laid flat over its back, like a type of armor. Numerous reconstructions have been proposed since then, the most convincing of which depicts the plates alternating in parallel rows, pointy ends facing upward, from this dinosaur’s neck to its butt. Why these structures arose is still a mystery.

11. Some of this dinosaur’s bony plates may reach a height of nearly one meter (3 feet). Scientists are unsure of how the plates were arranged – or for what purpose they were used. Some believe they were used for defense, while others say they were used to regulate temperature.

12. Stegosaurus did exhibit one anatomical characteristic that was relatively sophisticated for its time: Experts believe that it may have possessed primitive cheeks based on the form and placement of its teeth. Why were cheeks deemed so vital?

13. They endowed Stegosaurus with the ability to properly chew and predigest its meal prior to ingesting it, as well as the capacity to store more food than its non-cheeked competitors.

14. Godzilla was inspired by the Stegosaurus, T. Rex, and Iguanodon.

15. Stegosaurus is classified as three distinct species: S. stenopsS. ungulatus and S. sulcatus.

16. The Stegosaurus is Colorado’s state dinosaur.

Sources: 1, 2

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