With its eye-catching ridges along its back, Stegosaurus is one of the most well-known of the dinosaurs. With the Natural History Museum putting the most complete skeleton of one, named Sophie (because we all like to give things nick-names) on display in their dramatic Earth Hall, this intrepid Museum Adventurer has decided to investigate the Stegosaurus to find out if there is anything else to know about the dinosaur or if it is just all about style over substance.
So without further ado, here are some fantastic facts about Stegosaurus.
- All dinosaur names are a mix of Latin and Ancient Greek words which have a meaning in English, and Stegosaurus translates to ‘Roof Lizard.’ Can you think of any reason why this name would have been chosen?
- A fully grown Stegosaurus can reach about 9 meters in length, which is about the same as three cars parked in a row bumper to bonnet.
- Speaking of cars, experts think that an adult Stegosaurus would have weighed as much as a 4×4 – just over 3 tonnes.
- Even though Stegosaurus is quite big, it had a tiny brain. Experts have estimated that it was somewhere between a walnut and a plum in size.
- Stegosaurus lived 150 million years ago, in a time known as the late Jurassic Period. Dippy, the Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus, lived at about the same time. And how are the two getting along.? Well…
— Diplodocus carnegii (@NHM_Dippy) December 4, 2014
- The skeleton on display in the Natural History Museum was found in Wyoming, USA. However, Stegosaurus remains have been found all over the world.
- Although examples of Stegosaurs have been found in Europe, China and Africa, the skeleton at London’s Natural History Museum is the only Stegosaurus skeleton on display outside of the USA.
- The experts aren’t really sure what the plates along the spine of the Stegosaurus were for. Some palaeontologists think that they could have been used to deter predators, while others think that they were used to regulate body temperature like elephants’ ears.
- It is believed that Stegosaurus was a herbivore, which means it only ate plants. You can usually make a good guess about an animal’s diet by examining their teeth. How do you think teeth differ between plant and meat eaters?
- Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus (who you might know by his other name of Brontosaurus) were discovered by the same dino-hunter, OC Marsh.
If you enjoyed these facts about the plate-backed Stegosaurus, you can go and visit him in the Natural History Museum, or check out their dino-directory for more fun facts.
Bonus fact: The name “Sophie” was decided upon, not because the specimen is female, or even because of the fun alliteration, but because it was the name of a wealthy hedge-fund manager’s daughter. The almost anonymous hedge-funder had donated the money that made the acquisition of the skeleton possible.