When you think of dinosaurs, a few names likely come to mind. One of those is probably the iconic Stegosaurus. With its distinctive plates and spiky tail, it’s an unforgettable part of our prehistoric past. Here are 25 interesting facts about the Stegosaurus that kids (and adults) will love.
1. What Does “Stegosaurus” Mean?
The name ‘Stegosaurus’ comes from Greek words meaning ‘roofed lizard.’ This name was given due to the large, flat plates on its back.
2. When Did the Stegosaurus Live?
Stegosaurus roamed the Earth during the late Jurassic period, around 150 million years ago. This era was known as the “Age of the Dinosaurs.”
3. Where Did the Stegosaurus Live?
These fascinating creatures lived in what is now North America and Europe. They loved forested river valleys, which provided plenty of food and water.
4. What Did the Stegosaurus Eat?
Stegosaurus were herbivores, eating a diet of plants and leaves. Despite their size, they didn’t have teeth capable of chewing tough plant material, so they likely ate softer vegetation.
5. How Fast Could a Stegosaurus Move?
Despite its intimidating appearance, the Stegosaurus wasn’t built for speed. It likely moved at a slow pace, with estimates suggesting a top speed of around 5 miles per hour.
6. The Brain of a Stegosaurus
One of the most interesting facts about the Stegosaurus is related to its brain. It was incredibly small, only about the size of a dog’s brain. This has led to a lot of speculation about the intelligence of this dinosaur.
7. The Two-Brain Theory
There was once a theory that Stegosaurus had two brains. However, this has been largely debunked by scientists. The ‘second brain’ was likely just an enlargement in the spinal cord to help control their large bodies.
8. The Spiky Tail of a Stegosaurus
The tail of a Stegosaurus was equipped with four sharp spikes, earning it the nickname ‘thagomizer.’ It used this weapon for defense against predators.
9. Predators of the Stegosaurus
The main predator of the Stegosaurus was likely the Allosaurus, a large carnivorous dinosaur that lived during the same period.
10. Juvenile Stegosaurus
Young Stegosaurus, or juveniles, were smaller versions of adults. They had more rounded plates which became more pointed as they grew older.
11. The Plates of a Stegosaurus
The plates on a Stegosaurus are one of its most distinctive features. These plates, called scutes, were made of bone and could have been used for display, temperature regulation, or defense.
12. The Size of a Stegosaurus
A full-grown Stegosaurus could reach lengths of up to 30 feet and weigh as much as 5 tons. That’s about as heavy as an elephant!
13. Stegosaurus in Pop Culture
The Stegosaurus has been featured in many movies, TV shows, and books, making it one of the most famous dinosaurs.
14. The Discovery of the Stegosaurus
The first Stegosaurus fossil was discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh during the ‘Bone Wars’ – a period of intense fossil hunting and discovery in the United States.
15. Different Species of Stegosaurus
There were several different species of Stegosaurus, including Stegosaurus ungulatus and Stegosaurus stenops. Each had slight differences in size and plate shape.
16. Stegosaurus Fossils Around the World
Fossils of Stegosaurus have been found across the globe, from the United States to Portugal, indicating they were widespread during the Jurassic period.