Dinosaurs
Stegosaurus
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Stegosaurus is Greek for "plated lizard", this name is given to the dinosaur due to
a heavy armour of plates down its back. It is also sometimes known as one of the
dumbest dinosaurs, because it had a very small brain compared to its large body.

What did they look like?
An average Stegosaurus was about 12 m long (40 ft) and about 2.75 m tall (9 ft).
The Stegosaurus weighed about 2,000 kg! The Stegosaurus's front feet had five
toes on each foot and there were three on each back foot. The feet resembled
gigantic horse hoofs and the people who first discovered them actually thought
they might have come from giant horses!

The most prominent feature of a Stegosaurus was the row of plates running down
its back, along the spine. These plates could be larger than 75 cm in height. It was
once thought that these were used as protection against predators such as the
Allosaurus, but in fact they were not solid bone and would have been easy to
break. They were also covered with thin skin and lots of blood vessels.

Nobody knows for sure what the back-plates were used for, but many scientists
now believe that they were used for temperature control — to gather heat from
the surroundings. They would have been used like solar panels. When the animal
needed to warm up, it would stand with its side toward the sun. The thin skin and
many blood vessels covering the plates would soak up the heat of the sun. When
the Stegosaurus got too hot, it could stand in the shade, or turn itself to face the
sun (or face away from it). Then the blood vessels could be cooled.

For defence Stegosaurus did have four (or eight) heavy spikes on their tails,
which could be used to hit attackers in defence.
Stegosaurus's mouth was shaped a bit like a beak and had no teeth in the front —
probably for snipping plants.

What did they eat?
Stegosaurus were herbivores, meaning they ate plants. They mainly liked to
browse the lower levels of plant life because those were the easiest to reach
with their short necks. These plants were mostly low-nutrition plants such as ferns,
moss, cycads, and baby evergreen trees. Most of the plant life was as low as 3–4
feet. The Stegosaurs may have been able to rear up on their hind legs for short
periods of time to graze plants that were otherwise out of reach when food on
the ground was scarce.

Because the plants they ate had little nutrition in each bite, Stegosaurus had to
eat a lot. They would spend most of their day eating.

When did they live?
They lived during the late Jurassic period about 156–140 million years ago.

Where did they live?
They lived in Subtropical forests in the USA, though there have been closely
related dinosaurs living in other parts of the world including Africa, China,
Mongolia, England and Europe.

Stegosaurus fossils have been found in these US states: Colorado, Utah and
Wyoming.

How were they discovered?
The first Stegosaurus fossil was found in Colorado, USA, in 1876 by M. P. Felch. They
were named in 1877 by Othniel C. Marsh.

The most complete Stegosaurus fossil ever found was nicknamed "Spike". It was
discovered in Colorado, USA by Bryan Small, Tim Seeber, and Kenneth Carpenter
in 1992.   
Dinosaurs Totally Explained

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