All about Stegosaurus

Stegosaurus is a reptilian cross between a Sherman tank and a Swiss army knife. This dinosaur's unique physical architecture is a three-dimensional fortress of body armor, plates, and spikes.

Stegosaurus was one of the more common North American dinosaurs of the late Jurassic period (156 - 140 million years ago). These dinosaurs spent most of their time lumbering around in search of enough vegetable material to fuel their hulking frames. Among the staples of its Jurassic menu were ferns, mosses, cycads, horsetails, and conifers.

The regiment of huge, bony plates standing at attention along Stegosaurus' back is its most distinctive feature. These bony plates were full of channels for blood vessels and most likely served as a central heating and cooling system, conducting heat to and from the large animal's body.

Millions of years before the Knights of the Round Table, Stegosaurus sallied forth into the Jurassic shielded by a chain mail of its own. Bony studs on the hips, thighs, and tail protected the skin from the claws and teeth of predators, while allowing it to remain quite flexible. The most formidable weapon in the Stegosaurus arsenal was the spike-studded, mace-like tail.

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