Did You Know

Stegosaurus Facts: Extinct Animals of the World

Although the stegosaurus was a large dinosaur, it had a brain the size of a dog's.

Description

Similar to the ankylosaurus, the stegosaurus dinosaur was also an armored animal. It was a very huge dinosaur that had an elaborate spine with unique plates and bones on it. The stegosaurus was large and heavy built. It was quadruped with short fore limbs, a round back, and long hind limbs. Stegosaurus had a double row of plates on its back that extended to the tail. The tail, therefore, ended as a double pair of spikes. Its shape together with the armored plates earned it the name “stegosaurus” which means “roofed lizard”. The very first fossils of this dinosaur were obtained in Colorado. So far, close to 100 fossils have been identified and used to obtain more information about it.

Size

In the Stegosauridae family, the stegosaurus was the largest and most well-known type of dinosaur. They were able to grow up to a length of 30 feet and a weight of 5.3-7 tonnes. In spite of its large size, the stegosaurus had a brain as small as a dog’s. Stegosaurus armatus and Stegosaurus stenops are some of the stegosaurus species. The bulk of the fossils that have been discovered belong to the Stegosaurus stenops.

Habitat

Considering the fact that it is herbivorous, the preferred habitat of the stegosaurus was the woodlands. The popular location was the Northwestern regions of North America. Most of the stegosaurus fossils were obtained in Wyoming. However, the first fossil was discovered in Colorado. Wyoming and Colorado constitute the Morrison Formation. The region’s temperatures and vegetation favored the survival of the stegosaurus dinosaurs. The formation also covers areas such as New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Montana, and Nebraska. All these are possible habitats of the stegosaurus. Besides America, some fossils belonging to the stegosaurus were discovered a decade ago in Portugal and published in Naturwissenchaften. This was a confirmation of doubts on whether they had lived in Europe as well. The stegosaurus is believed to have existed at the same time as dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus, Apatosaurus, and Ceratosaurus.

Feeding Habits

The eating habits of the stegosaurus, just like other animals, can be determined by analyzing its teeth and dental formula. Carnivores, for example have sharp carnassial teeth that are used to cut deep into the flesh of its prey. It is believed that herbivorous dinosaurs had beaks, but lacked strong jaws and teeth for grinding. The stegosaurus had swollen cheeks that enabled it to feed a lot and store a surplus food for future use. This is why it was able to store food in the body for longer than any other dinosaur. The stegosaurus possessed a short neck and a relatively small head. This is affirmative of the fact that it fed on shrubs, low lying bushes, and other vegetation. Its food included cycads, conifers, fallen fruit, mosses, horsetails, and ferns. It is said that the stegosaurus had a weak bite – an indication that they could only break twigs of a diameter less than an inch.


More in Did You Know