Fossil skeleton of TuojiangosaurusTuojiangosaurus, a stegosaur, lived in East Asia during the Late Jurassic Period. It had a small, narrow head held low to the ground, a bulky body with an arched back and pillar-like limbs, its hindlegs longer than its front legs. Fifteen pairs of plates ran down the length of its neck, back and tail; the tallest pairs were at the highest point of its back. Two pairs of spikes grew out from the end of its tail.
Tuojiangosaurus’s plates would have helped to make it look a larger, more threatening animal than it actually was. But its chief protection from predators was the four cone-shaped spikes set at a 45-degree angle on its tail. A powerful flick of this muscular tail into the face of an onrushing predator would have inflicted severe damage.
Tuojiangosaurus, or “Tuo River Lizard”, was named after the place in China where it was discovered in 1977, exactly 100 years after its cousin Stegosaurus was unearthed in North America.
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