Stegosaurus, meaning Plated Lizard because of the bony plates on its back.
About 8/9 m
2.7 metres (9ft)
About 3 tonnes
Fossils have been found in North America, Southern Africa, Europe and Asia
Plants, mostly ferns cycads, horsetails and other low lying vegetation.
Late Jurassic between about 170 and 150 million years ago
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Stegosaurus was a ornithischian (bird hipped) type of dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic, over 150 million years ago. It was a quadruped walking on all fours, the rear two legs being longer than the front legs, which extended out to the sides. The front feet had five toes with hoof like tips. The rear feet had three short wide toes with hooves on them.
Stegosaurus had seventeen large bony plates down its spine, honeycombed with blood passages, that were probably used for regulating the body temperature as well as for defence; another defensive measure were spikes, over a metre long, sticking out sideways at the end of the tail - some species of Stegosaurus had eight others had four; the skin was also armoured in places.
Stegosaurus was a herbivore and, because of the position of its head no more than a metre above the ground, it was limited to eating low lying vegetation like ferns and cycads. Stegosaurus had a toothless beak for getting the food and rows of teeth at the back of the jaw for chewing it.
Predators would have included Allosaurs and Carnosaurs but they would have most probably preyed on the young, old and weak rather than prime adults, which would have presented a formidable challenge having the defensive armament they had at their disposal.
Stegosaurus had a really small brain compared to its body size, which is considered to be a indication of a really low intelligence. It used to be thought that there was a second brain near the hip, but this is now thought to be an enlargement of the spinal cord containing nerve cells and fatty tissue that helped to control the back legs and tail.
The first Stegosaurus fossils were found by M. P. Felch in Colorado, North America, in 1876. Since then they have been found in Europe, Asia and Africa. Stegosaurus was named by O. C. Marsh in 1877. The species became extinct at the end of the Jurassic period along with several other species of animals including many large sauropods.