Dinosaur: Getting to Know the Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus is a popular dinosaur amongst dinosaur enthusiasts, both young and old. There are many reasons for their popularity which include their unusual, distinctive shape and the fact they are considered to be nice dinosaurs, Ie plant eaters.

To put a bit of meat on the bones, the Stegosaurus lived in the late Jurassic period, around 156 to 145 million years ago. They had a smallish head in-relation to their overall size which lead to a large bulky body. The body in turn was carried on short legs. They had heavily plated backs and have been found all over the world. In fact Stegosaurus was the first plate-backed dino ever found.

Believe it or not, despite what all of the films show, the back plates still remain an area of ​​controversy. Firstly, either Stego, as I'm now calling them, had a single row of plates down their spine, or as alternative theory, they had two rows that were not lined up against one another. Secondly, we once thought that the larger plates were placed on the back for armored protection, however recently experts have suggested that they were there in order to help control body temperature and fossils collections would support this assumption.

Regardless of the back plate positioning or the actual use of those plates, Stego would have looked a lot larger with them, than without them, and as an adult would have reached around 25 feet long, which may well have put those pesky, cunning meat -eaters at bay.

Meat-eaters would have been a problem for the poor old Stego, specifically when you consider Stego's brain size. Yes, the old theory that a dinosaur had a brain the size of a ping pong ball is probably referring to the Stegosaurus. Weighing in around 70 grams, Stego's brain was in fact a wee bit smaller than a ping pong ball, making you have to think that they were at a great disadvantage. Of course, all this said, you have to remember that they were found all over the world in large numbers, so they seemed to survive just fine.

Today, there are plenty of good examples of Stegosaurus skeletons in museums around the world and I would suggest they are worth a look. However, failing this they will always feature in books, be presented on the internet, and without doubt make up a dinosaur toy collection such as the ranges from Papo, Bullyland and Safari, so you will always have the opportunity to admire this impressive dino.


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