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University of Wyoming

Stegosaurus fossil castThe Stegosaurus hanging on the UW Geological Museum wall is a cast of a reconstructed juvenile Stegosaurus stenops. In 1994, the original of this skeleton was found a short distance from the historic American Museum of Natural History Bone Cabin Quarry northeast of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. This subadult Stegosaurus is 15 feet (4.6 meters) long, 7 feet (2 meters) high, and probably weighed 2.6 tons (2.4 metric tons) in life. Above is a mural of two Stegosaurs roaming a scene from Wyoming's Jurassic Age.


'Roofed Lizard'

Geologic Time: 145 to 150 million years ago (Late Jurassic)

Geographic Range: Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, and Oklahoma

Adult Weight: 3.3 5ons (3 metric tons)

Adult Length: 30 feet (9 meters)

Habitat: Lowland Floodplains

Diet: Plants

Characteristics: Stegosaurus was an unusual looking herbivorous dinosaur found in the Morrison Formation of the Rocky Mountain West. Two rows of erect, alternating plates run from the back of the neck to the tail. Once thought to serve as a protection, these plates are now believed to have been skin covered and contained blood vessels. They were probably used in temperature regulation. The end of the tail of Stegosaurus was armored with four spikes used for protection. In life the spikes would have been even longer, as they were encased in a fingernail-like covering. Wit Stegosaurus' short front legs and longer, muscular back legs, it could probably have rotated back and forth easily to keep the spikes directly in front of a circling Allosaurus or other predator.

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