Stegosaurus is a genus of armored dinosaur. Fossils of this genus date to the Late Jurassic period, where they are found inKimmeridgian to early Tithonian aged strata, between 155 and 150 million years ago, in the western United States and Portugal. Stegosaurus remains were first identified during the “Bone Wars” by Othniel Charles Marsh.

The quadrupedal Stegosaurus is one of the most easily identifiable dinosaur genera, due to the distinctive double row of kite-shaped plates rising vertically along the rounded back and the two pairs of long spikes extending horizontally near the end of the tail. Although large individuals could grow up to 9 m (29.5 ft) in length,[4] the various species of Stegosaurus were dwarfed by contemporaries, the giant sauropods. Some form of armor appears to have been necessary, as Stegosaurus species coexisted with large predatory theropod dinosaurs, such as Allosaurus and Ceratosaurus.

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Fact file

  • Pronounced: STEG-oh-SORE-us
  • Meaning of name: roof lizard
  • Length: 9m
  • Diet: herbivorous
  • When it lived: Late Jurassic (156 – 144 million years ago)
  • Found in: USA

Taxonomic details

  • Taxonomy: Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Genasauria, Thyreophora, Stegosauria, Stegosauridae, Stegosaurinae, Stegosaurus
  • Named by: Marsh (1877)
  • Type species: armatus