Stegosaurus Facts for Kids
Did you know one of the most common dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era was the stegosaurus? From Stegosaurus Ungulatus (S. Ungulatus) to S. Sulcatus, and S. Stenops there are many different species of the stegosaurus. Fossil evidence has shown that at least these three species were around during the Triassic period and late Jurassic Period. They lived for centuries, roaming the Earth between 156 and 144 million years ago. Scientists still don’t know for sure what led to the extinction of the stegosauruses but they do know some of the characteristics and adaptations that made them a powerhouse species. Keep reading to learn all the stegosaurus facts for kids.
The Discovery of Stegosauruses and Stegosaurus Fossils
Stegosauruses was one of the first types of dinosaurs to be discovered and studied, having been first described in 1877. Arthur Lakes and Othniel C. Marsh are credited with finding the first stegosaurus fossil in the Morrison formation located in Western North America.
Despite being one of the most iconic dinosaur species, stegosaurus fossils are extremely rare. Most specimens consist of just a few bones or incomplete skeletons of either hind limbs, tail spikes, or parallel rows of protective plates. The most complete stegosaurus skeletons are located in museums. Would you want to visit a museum to see a nearly complete stegosaurus skeleton?
Stegosaurus Facts for Kids – Characteristics of Stegosauruses
Stegosauruses are most commonly characterized by their rows of bony plates down their back and their spiked tail. This unique set of plates and spines along their backs and tails likely served as protection from predators. Although, these sharp spikes could have also been used for thermoregulation, communication, or even mate attraction.
While stegosaurs are often thought to have been slow-moving animals, recent studies suggest that they may have actually been quite agile and quick on their feet. How fast do you think stegosauruses could travel?
Stegosauruses are thought to be similar to the modern-day alligator or crocodile because of their muscle tone and scaly characteristics. However, some people would compare a stegosaurus to an elephant because of its large size. What do you think makes more sense?
The Brain of a Stegosaurus
The stegosaurus had a small head and large body. Their brains were very small in comparison to the rest of their body, measuring up to be the size of a walnut. They were very unproportionate creatures and had a brain the size of a walnut.
Given their small brain size, stegosauruses are believed to have been quite intelligent in other ways, including being social and having an intricate vocal communication system. They also had relatively large optic lobes that allowed them to process visual information quickly and efficiently.
Stegosaurus Facts for Kids – Stegosaurus Diet
A stegosaurus was a plant-eater, which today we know as a herbivore. Stegosauruses would have mainly eaten low-lying vegetation such as ferns and shrubs.
The stegosaurus had a long neck and a narrow head, which would have helped them to reach leaves and buds that were out of their direct line of sight.
Stegosauruses had peg-like front teeth that were well-suited for crushing plant matter, but not for tearing flesh. Because of this, the stegosaurus was not a carnivorous dinosaur.
The stegosaurus was known for its enormous stomach. The dinosaur would swallow rocks to help break up the tough vegetable matter they were eating.
Stegosauruses and Their Young
Although no one knows for sure, it is believed that stegosauruses gave birth to live young and that the babies remained in their mother’s nest until they were old enough to survive on their own. Do you agree with this?
Stegosaurus Facts for Kids – The Word Stegosaurus
Stegosaurus is a greek word. The name stegosaurus comes from the Greek words “stegos,” meaning “roof,” and “sauros,” meaning “lizard,” so a stegosaurus is essentially a “roof lizard.”
The Decline of the Stegosaurus
Due to their size, stegosauruses faced few threats from other animals at this time. However, they did sometimes fall prey to larger and carnivorous dinosaurs, such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T. Rex).
Stegosauruses went extinct around 150 million years ago due to a combination of changing climates and increasing competition from other, newer dinosaur species.
If stegosauruses had survived into more modern times, it is likely that they would have evolved to become increasingly social animals, much like modern-day elephants. We can only imagine how amazing they would be to see in person or study up close if there were still around today.
Let’s Summarize Stegosaurus Facts for Kids
Despite stegosaurus bones being so rare in fossils, scientists are still learning new things about these fascinating creatures all the time. From fossils, we have been able to create a skeleton of a stegosaurus and hypothesize what they looked like. Today, we know about stegosaurus characteristics, their diet, and their young. We have even been able to compare them to elephants and crocodiles. What’s your favorite part about stegosauruses? Whether you’re a kid or just young at heart, stegosauruses are sure to capture your imagination and leave you in awe. If that’s you, get the remote ready and turn on some Jurassic Park! Unfortunately, that’s one of the only ways you can marvel at these incredible creatures. Let us know what you think.
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