Meaning: Roofed lizard
Period: 155-151 Million Years, Late Jurassic period
Discovered: North America in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, in Western Europe, in Southern India, in China and in Southern Africa
Height: 9 feet
Length: 30 feet
Weight: 3 tons
Diet: Plant eater
With a brain about the size of a hotdog, the Stegosaurus was probably not very intelligent. However, as a plant eater, it did not need to make too many difficult decisions.
Made from a bony material, the17 plates, called dermal plates, running down its back had blood vessels within them. They grew from the skin ― not the spine. They most likely were used for display, recognition and attracting mates – like the horns of a nyala. They may have also acted as radiators, releasing body heat to a cooler environment; conversely, the plates could have worked as solar panels collecting heat – a sea lion uses its flippers the same way!