Stegosaurus gets a New Look

To celebrate 130 years since the naming and scientific description of Stegosaurus, Schleich of Germany have introduced a new model of this famous dinosaur.  The new 1:40 scale model of Stegosaurus (based on a Stegosaurus stenops), incorporates the latest scientific thinking about this huge Jurassic herbivore.  The animal is depicted with a more hunched back than previous models and this latest version depicts greater mobility in the shoulders, helping to give this animal a less corpulent look than earlier models.

The 1:40 Scale Model of Stegosaurus

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

The trend to place the biggest and broadest of the plates over the pelvic area is continued and the plates are given a red hue in recognition of theories about their use.  On closer examination the fossil plates reveal that they were made of quite thin honey-combed bone full of blood vessels.  This type of bone structure would have limited use in defence and the plates seem to be placed too high up the back to protect a Stegosaur from attack.  Could they have been used as a thermo regulator?   Such large herbivores would have lived out on the fern plains and on the conifer scrub land, the ability to control body temperature may have been extremely useful as there would have been little shelter for such a large creature on the Jurassic flat lands.  A quick blast of heat from the early morning sun could have warmed up Stegosaurus enough to give it the edge over any early morning marauding Allosaurs, and in the heat of the day turning into the any breeze passing between the rows of plates would have cooled Stegosaurus, just like African elephant’s ears.

The plates may also have been used as a display board.  Rivals could be intimidated, or predators put off by the Stegosaur flushing blood into its plates to turn them bright red in an aggressive display.  A 25 foot Stegosaurus stenops stomping around flashing its blood-red plates and swishing its tail would probably have deterred all but the most determined carnivores.

To see the model of Stegosaurus: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur Models

Stegosaurus stenops means (narrow faced roof lizard), Marsh, the American palaeontologist who named and described this animal wanted to emphasis the narrow, almost delicate jaws of this species.  The model seems to have captured this feature very well.  There are over 50 specimens of this Stegosaur known, the majority of these having been recovered from the famous Morrison Formation exposures that cover much of the remoter parts of Utah and Colorado.  In recognition of the amount of Stegosaur material recovered from this area, Stegosaurus stenops was made the state fossil of Colorado.  The decree was passed by Colorado state in 1982 and Stegosaurus is celebrating its silver jubilee this year.

Ironically, S. stenops is not the biggest Stegosaur known, that honour goes to another Stegosaur from the Morrison formation – Stegosaurus armatus.  This animal was believed to have grown to exceed 30 feet in length and like stenops was armed with four tail spikes but its back plates were not as broad.

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