Stegosaurus

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Stegosaurus was a heavily built, bus-sized herbivore that stood on four legs and had a brain the size of a dog's.  The fossil record indicates that stegosaurus lived roughly 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period in what is now the western United States.  They were most likely a grazer and shrub eater, based on their head placement and lack of front teeth.  Instead, the stegosaurus had a turtle-like beak, and triangle shaped cheek teeth.

 

The plates of stegosaurus have been the topic of much debate in scientific communities.  For one, when the first recorded fossils of stegosaurus were found it was thought that the distinctive kite shaped armor plates laid flat against the back of the dinosaur.  It wasn't until more complete fossils were discovered that archaeologists realized the plates sat on their edge as we know today.  Because of this error, the dinosaur was dubbed stegosaurus which translates to "Roof Lizard".

 

Scientists still don't know exactly why stegosaurus even had back plates.  Some scientists theorize that the plates served as a type of temperature regulator, like giant radiator fins.  Others postulate that they were in fact used as protection, along with a menacing spiked tail.  Still other scientists think that the stegosaurus may have used them for attracting mates, flushing blood through them to make vibrant colors similar to mating displays of some animals living today.  Perhaps all of them are correct?