Stegosaurus was first discovered during the so-called “Bone Wars” of the late 1800s, in which paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope each tried to outdo each other with new dinosaur fossil discoveries. It was originally named by Marsh, who believed its plates were arranged flat on its back like a turtle’s shell. This was later revised to a single row of plates, and then a double “mirrored” row. Eventually, remains were found that showed the currently accepted arrangement of alternating plates.
There were originally several different species of Stegosaurus described, but many of those have since been reassigned to other genera or consolidated into existing species. Stegosaurus belongs to the Stegosauridae family, in the subgroup Thyreophora, which also includes the Ankylosaurs.
One of the most popular and well-known dinosaurs, Stegosaurus was a very unique looking dinosaur, with its large armored plates and distinctive tail spines. It lived during the Jurassic Period (around 150 million years ago) in the same time and place as Allosaurus. Broken tail spines and wound marks in Allosaurus bones suggest that these two may have done battle with each other.
Scientific Name: Stegosaurus (“covered” or “roofed” lizard) was named for the plates covering its back. Stegosaurus stenops is the type species.
Characteristics: Stegosaurus is known from many complete skeletons, but the exact position of its tail spikes and dermal plates was long the subject of debate. It is now believed that the plates were arranged in an alternating pattern, with the tail spikes arranged in pairs. Some paleontologists suggest that the arrangement of plates may have differed between Stegosaurus species.
Size and Color: This Stegosaurus features a nice yellow, brown and red color scheme that’s not too vibrant, but not entirely dull either. This figure is 6.75 inches long and 4 inches in height, making it about as long as a water bottle turned on its side, and a little shorter than a soda can.
- The Stegosaurus is part of the Wild Safari® Prehistoric World collection
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