about 150 million years ago in what is now the western part of the USA. It
lived alongside some of the most famous dinosaurs, such as Diplodocus,
Brontosaurus and the meat-eater Allosaurus, which was probably its
major predator. Stegosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur that probably
ate woody ferns and soft vegetation; flowering plants and grasses had not yet
The most famous feature of Stegosaurus is
the row of bony plates and spikes that ran down its back to the end of its
tail. The plates may have been used for display, perhaps to make the animal
look bigger and more scary than it really was: it couldn’t run away from
predators, because its limbs suggest it could only have moved slowly, so
perhaps it used the plates in defensive displays instead. Stegosaurus could
have swung its tail and inflicted wounds on the legs and bodies of predators
with its fearsome spikes.
just one of a group of stegosaurian dinosaurs which lived from about 165
million years ago until about 100 million years ago. Stegosaur fossils are
known from the UK, France, Portugal and Spain in Europe. They have been found
in abundance in Jurassic rocks in China, and there are also some stegosaurs
from Morocco, Tanzania and South Africa. They were probably present in South
America as well, although the fossils there are very fragmentary and we don’t
know much about them yet. So far, no stegosaurs have been found in Australia,
although fossil footprints that were probably made by stegosaurs suggest they
Although stegosaurs are some of the most
famous and easily recognisable dinosaurs, their fossils are surprisingly rare,
and we don’t know as much about them as we do about dinosaurs that lived later,
in the Cretaceous period. There are only around four or five complete stegosaur
skeletons known from anywhere in the world.
Susannah Maidment is
a dinosaur researcher and curator at the Natural History Museum, London, UK.
Susannah leads a research group that studies the bird-hipped ‘ornithischian’
dinosaurs to try to understand how they are related to each other and how they
lived their lives.
|Sleeve length, in||5.04||5.28||5.52||5.75||5.99|
There are no reviews yet.