a plant-eating stegosaurine dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of North America.
(Armoured roof lizard)Etymology
is derived from the Greek " stego" (cover, roof)" and "sauros" (lizard).
The species epithet
, means "equipped with armour" in Latin.
The first Stegosaurus
remains were discovered at "Saurian Quarry 5" in the Morrison Formation, north of Morrison Town, Jefferson County, Colorado, USA, by Professor Arthur Lakes and U. S. Navy Engineer H. C. Beckwith in 1877.
(YPM 1850), "coaxed" from the ground with hammers, chisels, and explosives, is understandibly fragmentary and may include remains that actually belong to Allosaurus
! With this in mind Peter Galton, in 2010, proposed that this holotype not only be replaced by a better one, but one belonging to a completely different species of Stegosaurus
—USNM 4934 Stegosaurus stenops
, which is known from dozens of well-preserved specimens. As per usual the powers that be are moving at a snail's pace, and there's no judgement from the ICZN as yet.
Best form of defence is attack
Though often portrayed as lumbering plant eaters, Stegosaurus
were no pushovers according to experts who have uncovered evidence of a casualty of stegosaurian combat. Apparently. The smoking gun is a fatal stab wound—conical in shape and matching a stegosaur tail spike—found in the pubis bone of an Allosaurus
, and such was the angle of entry that the perpetrator would have had to sweep its tail under the predator, twist the tail tip and then strike upwards, because the spikes on the end of a stegosaur's tail—known as a "thagimizer"—point sideways and backwards. So there you go. Stegosaurus
were dumb yet dextrous.
: Late Jurassic
: 156-151 mya
Est. max. length
: 9 meters
Est. max. hip height
: 3 meters
Est. max. weight
: 3 tons
Other valid species
—"furrowed roof lizard"—was described by Marsh in 1887 based on a partial skeleton, but it may be a synonym of Stegosaurus armatus
—"hoofed roof lizard"—was named by Marsh in 1879 for a few vertebrae and armor plates from Como Bluff, Wyoming. It may represent a juvenile form of Stegosaurus armatus
, but this didn't deter Escaso et al
. from assigning a Portuguese specimen here well over a century later, which makes it the first and so far only confirmed Stegosaurus
specimen known from outside of North America, regardless of which species it represents.
...and not so much
—"Related roof lizard"— is only known from a pubis found in "Quarry 13" at Como Bluff which was never illustrated and only poorly described by O.C. Marsh in 1881. It was never assigned a specimen number either, and its remains appear to be lost. It may be synonymous with Stegosaurus armatus
—"Seeley's roof lizard"—was originally named Hypsirophus seeleyanus, a second species of Hypsirophus
—which isn't a Scooby Doo typo of Hypsilophus
—by E.D. Cope in 1879. Although never illustrated or actually described, E.D. Cope renamed its Stegosaurus seeleyanus
later the same year, though its remains probably belong to Stegosaurus armatus
—"Broad-headed roof lizard"—was originally described by Marsh in 1881 as Diracodon
(neck-point tooth) based on some jawbone fragments.
Following a 70s/80s trend of combining dinosaur names—Edmontonia
, Panoplosaurus (Edmontonia) longiceps
, and so on—Bob Bakker semi-resurrected Diracodon laticeps
in 1986, though most paleontologists consider the material to be non-diagnostic and likely synonymous with Stegosaurus stenops
—"two plexus roof lizard" (YPM 1858)— started the "two brained" theory. Collected in 1879 by Edward Ashley at Como Bluff but not named until 1887, a greatly enlarged canal in its sacrum (YPM 1857) was interpreted by O.C Marsh as a "posterior brain case". It's probably the same as Stegosaurus armatus
, though Marsh initially thought it belonged to Stegosaurus ungulatus
—"Madagascan roof lizard"—was described by Piveteau in 1926 based solely on teeth that have variously been identified as the property of a theropod (probably Majungasaurus
), a hadrosaur and a crocodylian.
—"Marsh's roof lizard"—was named and described briefly by Lucas in 1901 based on a mangled skeleton found by Nelson Horatio Darton at Buffalo Gap Station in the Lakota Formation of Custer County, South Dakota, in 1898. It was renamed Hoplitosaurus
by Lucas in 1902 and fully described by Gilmore in 1914, but continues to court controversy.
—"Ancient roof lizard"—was described by Nopcsa in 1911. It was reassigned to Lexovisaurus
by Galton in 2004, but is now the type species of Loricatosaurus
(Gilmore, 1914) was controversially renamed Natronasaurus longispinus
by Ulansky in 2014... which was controversially renamed Alcovasaurus
by Galton and Carpenter in 2016.
Funnily enough, during a cull of stegosaurids by Maidment in 2008, she put down her scythe long enough to raise two Stegosaurus
species of her own, though few experts have accepted them:
, based on a critter previously known as Hesperosaurus mjosi
and Stegosaurus homheni
, based on a critter long known as Wuerhosaurus homheni
• Marsh O.C. (1877) "A new order of extinct Reptilia (Stegosauria) from the Jurassic of the Rocky Mountains
• Marsh O.C. (1887) "Principal characters of American Jurassic dinosaurs - Part IX - The skull and dermal armor of Stegosaurus
• Weishampel D.B. and White N.M. (2003) "The Dinosaur Papers (1676-1906)
• Ostrom J.H. and McIntosh J.S. (2000) "Marsh's Dinosaurs: The Collections from Como Bluff
• Carpenter K. (2001) "The Armored Dinosaurs (life of the past)
• Galton P.M. (2010) "Species of plated dinosaur Stegosaurus
(Morrison Formation, Late Jurassic) of western USA: new type species designation needed".
Escaso F, Ortega F, Dantas P, Malafaia E, Pimentel NL, Pereda-Suberbiola X, Sanz JL, Kullberg JC, Kullberg MC, Barriga F. (2007) "New Evidence of Shared Dinosaur Across Upper Jurassic Proto-North Atlantic: Stegosaurus
• Maidment S.C.R, Norman D.B, Barrett P.M. and Upchurch P. (2008) "Systematics and phylogeny of Stegosauria (Dinosauria: Ornithischia)". Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 6 (4): 367–407.
• Saitta ET (2015) "Evidence for Sexual Dimorphism in the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus mjosi (Ornithischia, Stegosauria) from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Western USA
• Maidment SCR, Brassey C, Barrett PM (2015) "The Postcranial Skeleton of an Exceptionally Complete Individual of the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus stenops (Dinosauria: Thyreophora) from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A.
". PLoS ONE 10(10): e0138352. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0138352.
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