Stegosaurus ungulatus

 

FACTS

Stegosaurus is Greek for  “roof lizard”, after its bony plates, which make it one of the most recognizable dinosaurs in popular culture.

Stegosaurus  had a very small brain in proportion to its body.

Stegosaurus is one of the few checked dinosaurs, allowing it to thoroughly chew its food.

The most compleat juvenile Stegosaurus was found in the Carnegie Quarry.

 

William D. Berry's artwork depicting a Stegosaurus.
William D. Berry’s artwork depicting a Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurus ungulatus is a species of ornithischian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of North America, found in the Morrison Formation. One of the most common dinosaurs from the Carnegie Quarry, its bones can be viewed on the modern quarry wall. Stegosaurus was a quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaur with a series of bony plates running down the length of its vertebral column, with the tip of its tail adorned with bony spikes. The function of these plates has been disputed by paleontologists. Due to the vascular nature of the plates, their function as a thermal regulation mechanism has been suggested. A closely related dinosaur  from the Tendagaru Beds of Tanzania named Kentrosaurus, is adorned with bony structures that resemble spikes along the length of its vertebral column, instead of plates. This has led some paleontologists to suggest that these structures evolved for the purpose of sexual display, rather than temperature regulation.

A fairly compleat juvenile Stegosaurus ungulatus specimen was excavated from Carnegie Quarry, and a copy is on display at the Quarry Exhibit Hall. The specimen was described by Peter Galton of the University of Bridgeport.

Specimens of Stegosaurus ungulatus from the Carnegie Quarry:

DINO_1105 Stegosaurus Plate
DINO_1105 Stegosaurus Plate
The most compleat juvenile Stegosaurus was found in the Carnegie Quarry. This cast is on display in the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
The most compleat juvenile Stegosaurus was found in the Carnegie Quarry. This cast is on display in the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

Berman, D.S. and McIntosh, J.S. 1986. Description of the lower jaw of Stegosaurus (Reptilia, Ornithischia). Annals of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History 55: 29-40.

Galton, P.M. 1982c. Juveniles of the stegosaurian dinosaur Stegosaurus from the Upper Jurassic of North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 2(1): 47-62. Link to publication

As an open science, open source initiative, all fossil data and many of the records and images on this website are licensed in the public domain. However, not everything has the same license, so please check for license information in the caption or metadata before use. Dinosaur National Monument mural artwork, including the full-color illustrations of dinosaurs and other animals, is owned by the National Park Service and may be used freely for non-commercial purposes with the credit: "NPS Artwork by Bob Walters and Tess Kissinger."

For fossil fans who code or design, there are also a number of ways to be a part of the Digital Quarry Project. To contribute, visit our GitHub project page.