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Stegosaurus was up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) long. An average Stegosaurus was around 20 feet (6.1 meters) long, and weighed 2 tons. Stegosaurus had much longer hind legs than forelegs, and very strong muscles around its hips. So, although Stegosaurus walked on all fours, it is thought likely that the animal could have lifted its forelegs off the ground to eat from the branches of trees.
Stegosaurus bony plates on its back that could have been used for protection, and possibly temperature regulation. The largest of the plates were over 2 feet (60 centimeters) high. Nobody is absolutely sure how the plates on the back were arranged, because the plates have never been found still attached to the skeleton. Some scientist believe the plates may have lay flat on the skin. However, most scientists believe the plates stood erect on the back, and were arranged in pairs or a zigzag pattern. Stegosaurus also had pairs of spikes on its tail which were about 3 feet (0.9 meters) long. There were several species of Stegosaurus, and the number of tail spikes varied between Stegosaurus species.
One unusual feature of Stegosaurus, which was first noted by Othniel C. Marsh, is that the animal had a large canal in the hip region of the spinal chord, that could have accommodated a structure about 20 times larger than the creature's brain. There has been a lot of speculation about this region, including the idea that dinosaurs like Stegosaurus had a second "brain" which controlled reflexes in the rear of the animal. A more recent idea about this, is that canal accommodated a glycogen body, a structure which is also found in some living birds.
Stegosaurus has been designated the official state fossil of Colorado, since 1982.
Stegosaurus was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 155 to 144 million years ago
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