The Stegosaurus is instantly recognizable by its 2-3ft bony plates on its back and its powerful spiked tail. It was one of the first dinosaurs to be discovered back in 1887! It was an impressive armoured dinosaur. and it lived during the Jurassic period around 150 million years ago.
Stegosaurus was an herbivorous armoured dinosaur of the thyreophoran family. It had 17-22 2-3ft tall, armoured plates across its back likely used for display, intimidation, species recognition, heat regulation and possibly defence. it was a large dinosaur at 30 ft long and 12 ft high weighing up to and over 10,000lbs.
With it being discovered for such a long time our “facts” about this dinosaur have changed as we learn more about it, and with almost complete fossil skeletons being discovered we are even now learning more and changing our knowledge about this awesome dinosaur.
So here are 25 amazing facts about this fascinating creature! that we know right now!
25 Facts about the Stegosaurus
1. The stegosaurus about the weight of an elephant, though much longer. It was a large dinosaur. It could be up to 21 ft long (9 metres) and up to 14 ft tall (4 metres) when including the bony plates along its back which stood up and didn’t lay flat as was first thought.
2.The Stegosaurus was not the smartest of dinosaurs. it had the brain the size of a small dog, and a body bigger than an elephant! for a long time some scientists thought it might have 2 brains one in its backside! This was later proved to be incorrect. So at the moment stegosaurus is considered to be one of the least clever dinosaurs.
3. Stegosaurus was not only big it was a heavy dinosaur as well. It could weigh up to 5 tons, which is about 10,000 lbs or 5000 Kg! This is over 110 7th graders! It, like other large herbivores seems to be in a continue arms race with carnivores growing bigger and bigger. It was certainly a challenge even for its main predator the allosaurus.
4. The Stegosaurus was a member of the thyreophoran, or armoured dinosaur, group other famous dinosaur family member include kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus. Stegosaurus was the biggest of this family though, and one of the best armored with those vicious tail spikes.
5. The Stegosaurus had 17-22 Bony plates, called scutes, on its back and these could be up to 2 ft tall. Scientists are not 100% sure what there function was but agree they could have been used for display, protection from the bites of carnivorous dinosaur and to help control their body temperature,
Fine lines have been found in them that could have transported blood around the plates. The plates were not fixed to the skeleton like some other dinosaurs though, so it may have been more of a deterrence than actual protection.
6. The plates on a stegosaurus were not the only possible protection from predators that the stegosaurus had. It also had a spiked tail with 4 long spikes that it could use to swing at any attacking dinosaurs.
7. The spikes on a stegosaurus tail, like the plates on its back, could be 2-3ft, (60-90cm) long. Thats 4 3 ft long spears on the end of its tail! they could certainly hurt even a big predator! The tail spikes are called the thagomizer after a cartoon
8 Stegosaurus is mostly a North American dinosaur and its fossils have been found Colorado, wyoming and Montana. A lot has been found in colorado and it is the state dinosaur there. However, there have been stegosaurus fossils found in Europe as well, in Portugal.
9. The stegosaurus would have prefered to live in forests and floodplain close to water and rivers. It is likely to have eaten cycads’, ferns and trees. there were not any grasses at this time in Earth’s history.
10. The Stegosaurus was a herbivore and it fed on plants with its small, beak-like mouth. As we mentioned it had a beak at the front of the mouth and very small, peg-like teeth that were not good for chewing food.
Although recent studies have shown it may had a pretty powerful bite for a herbivore dinosaur! The Stegosaurus maybe swallowed stones, which stayed in its stomach and helped it to grind up its food, but as of yet there is not evidence for this and scientists are still looking at how the stegosaurus would be able to get enough food!
11. Stegosaurus is one of the most discovered dinosaur. Over 81 fossilized remains have been found including almost complete skeletons. This means scientists have had a lot more information to work from when studying this dinosaur.
12. The stegosaurus was a Late Jurassic Dinosaur which means it was on Earth around 155-145 million years ago. Unlike a lot of other dinosaurs in Jurassic park which were from the cretaceous Era ( T-Rex, velociraptor and Triceratops for example) This means that we, humans, are close in time to the T-Rex than the Stegosaurus ever was!
13. The Stegosaurus was first discovered in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh. The fossils were part of the bone wars period of fossil hunting ( another article needed for this crazy time!) in The Morrison Formation of fossils in Colorado.
14. The stegosaurus name actually means “roof lizard” Stego means roof and saurus means lizard in Greek. It actually got its name as March ( the paleontologist who discovered it) thought it was a large sea turtle and that the plates on the back were actually flat and covered the dinosaur. Only later did he realise they stood up from the back.
15. It is believed that the Stegosaurus could reach speeds of about 5 miles an hour(7(kph) Although plenty of websites will say this dinosaur could run at 32 km an hour this is NOT true with the information we have to date. .
The legs, especially as it had longer back legs and really short front legs meant that stegosaurus would fall over fairly soon after it started to run. It was not a fast dinosaur and would have relied on its size and protective plates and spikes to prevent predators, rather than speed.
16. The Stegosaurus was thought to be a semi-social creature but it didn’t live in herds, more lieky it lived in small groups or even solitary life styles. Even though we have found 81 fossils it is thought they were not that common in the Late Jurassic of North America.
17. Stegosaurus legs were very different., although it moved on four legs its fore legs were much shorter than its back legs, so much so that if it did run or move to fast it would have likely falled and tripped! Good job it had those spikes isnt it!
18. The Stegosaurus only had one brain. Although this is a strange fact it was thought for a lot of years that stegosaurus might actually have two brains, one in its head and one, well, one in its butt. However, the space where that second brain was thought to be is now thought not to have any cognitive ( thinking) functions.
Although it sounds a little crazy there are actually other animals that have more than one brain! The octopus has 9 brains one for each tentacle and one in its head!
19. Stegosaurus was alive at the same time as allosaurus and ceratosaurus which were large predatory dinosaurs. So being slow moving, and not so bright would have made a temping target to this huge meat eaters. The Stegosaurus was a prey animal and it is thought that its armour plates may have evolved as a defence against being attacked by other dinosaurs.
20. The Stegosaurus is one of the first dinosaurs discovered and has been featured in many movies and documentaries throughout the years. It as appeared in both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World series of movies, and the People That Time Forgot.
23. On April the 28th 1982 The stegosaurus was made the state dinosaur of Colorado, which is suitable as it was where it was first discovered!
24. Both Stegosaurus and Ankylosaurs are thought to have evolved from older dinosaurs that also had armour. armoured dinosaurs like Scelidosaurus. These dinosaurs lived in the earlier Jurassic which was (206 million to 180 million years ago)
25. Likely most if not all dinosaurs so it is likely that stegosaurs did lay eggs, However unfortunately no eggs, yet, have been found that are from a stegosaurus. It is really difficult for scientists to tell what species dinosaur eggs are from unless they is am embryo (baby dinosaur) inside.
26. We know it says 25 facts about stegosaurus but this one is to help you how to say the name of stegosaurus. It is a four syllable word and pronounced like this.
There Is much more to learn about the stegosaurus but there you have our 25 facts to get you started. You can follow the links to learn more, or jump over to our 20 questions and answers sections about the stegosaurus and other dinosaurs.
Don’t forget to print out the 20 Stegosaurus factsheet we have in this article to add to your collection, and if you want more you can check out the printables section or the shop for more dinosaur information and fun.
We hope you enjoyed these 25 facts about the Stegosaurus and learned something new! For more information on this fascinating creature, please visit our website or one of the many amazing museums around the world that feature displays on prehistoric animals.
Some of My Dinosaur Resource Recommendations for Home and School.
Thanks for taking the time to read our facts and questions articles, as a teacher myself i have struggled to find resources in one place and that is why this website was born. I simply love teaching students about dinosaurs both in my role as a language and General Studies teacher. However there is sometimes a need for something more concrete than a printout (as useful as we think ours are! )
There is something awesome about the feeling of awe that these amazing creatures instil in our children and students. To further help you, and potentially me, i have included a few resources below that i have found to be incredibly successful when explaining dinosaurs to children, these range form books and resources, to toys fossils and dinosaur figures.
Sometimes having something tactile to touch in those tiny hands help to focus and cement learning and develop those big brains! Hope they are helpful too.
Dinosaur Books and Readers
There are of course hundreds of excellent, and not so excellent books on Dinosaurs for Children out there. So rather than, yet, go into huge detail. I will highlight the ones I love to use with my students from ages 6 to 10. We have include AR in these as well. ( nothing quite like a moving dinosaur in front of you!
I cant say how great these are to use in a classroom while reading with a group. the chance to read about a dinosaur and then touch a real piece is simply great. I have a selection ( self confessed dinosaur geek) but a cheap set of 10 or so will do the trick just as well. Dinosaur poop is great as well!!! i pass it round and ask them to guess what it is first!
I actually use realia in a lot of classes especially with animals and dinosaurs, and figures help to show the kind of animal we are reading about. It is possible to spend hundreds of dollars on dinosaur figures but there is no need, either as a teacher or a parent. The set below and similar we have used to help students picture dinosaurs to great effect.
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.