The Stegosaurus is the most famous dinosaur from a group of dinosaurs known as Stegosauria. They were all herbivores (plant eaters) and featured rows of unique bones that developed into plates and spines along their back and tail.
The name ‘Stegosaurus’ comes from the Greek words ‘stegos’ meaning roof and ‘sauros’ meaning lizard.
The Stegosaurus was alive in the late Jurassic Period (around 150 million years ago).
Stegosaurus fossils have been found in western North America and more recently in Portugal, indicating that they lived in Europe as well.
In terms of size, the Stegosaurus was large and heavily built. On average, a fully grown Stegosaurus was around 9 metres (30ft) in length, 4 metres (14ft) in height and up to nearly 5 metric tons in weight.
Although the Stegosaurus body was large, the size of their brain was only around the size of a dog’s.
Researchers believe that due to the nature of Stegosaurus legs, they had a maximum speed of around 7kph (5mph).
The 17 plates found along the back of the Stegosaurus arose from the skin rather than being attached to the skeleton. The largest plates were around 60cm (2ft) tall and 60cm (2ft) wide.
The Stegosaurus also featured tail spikes that reached around 60cm (2ft) to 90cm (3ft) in length.
Along with Tyrannosaurus rex and Iguanodon, Stegosaurus was one of three dinosaurs that inspired the appearance of Godzilla.
Stegosaurus was represented in the popular Transformers toy line and animated series as Snarl, an Autobot that could transform into a Stegosaurus form.
The US state of Colorado lists the Stegosaurus as its state dinosaur.