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Stegosaurus

Running the length of Stegosaurus’s back were two rows of bony, diamond-shaped plates, embedded in its skin and jutting upwards. Stegosaurus was a plated dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Jurassic Period. It had a bulky body with a high, arched back and pillar-like limbs. Its front legs were much shorter than its hindlegs. It held its head low to the ground, while its stiff tail with horizontal spikes was held high. Running the length of Stegosaurus’s back were two rows of bony, diamond-shaped plates, embedded in its skin and jutting upwards. Stegosaurus’s plates might even have been brightly coloured and been used in courtship display by males. Its head was relatively small—only about 40 centimetres (16 inches) long—compared to the rest of its body.


A dangerous Ceratosaurus approaches a Stegosaurus and its young.
Two Stegosaurus feed on shrubs and water plants in a swamp.

Temperature control

Stegosaurus’s plates may have helped control its body temperature. Each was filled with blood vessels that would take in or give off heat, depending on whether the dinosaur needed to warm up or cool down. Blood flowing inside the thin horn covering of the plates would have been quickly warmed if Stegosaurus turned its body side-on towards the sun—or cooled if it faced the sun head-on.
  

Defence

Stegosaurus could run at a maximum speed of 7 km/h (about 4 mph).

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