The bony plates along Stegosaurus' back were embedded in the skin of the animal, not attached to its skeleton, which is why in most fossil finds the plates are separated from the body.
When O C Marsh described the first fossil of a Stegosaurus, he concluded that the plates would have lain flat on its back. After finding a specimen that had been covered with mud, which had held the plates in place, Marsh realised that they stood vertically, alternately on either side of the spine.
Scientists are not exactly sure what the plates were used for. They may have warned off predators, or allowed members of the same species to recognise each other. Another suggestion is that the plates were used to regulate body temperature. There are tiny grooves in the plate surfaces, possibly where blood vessels would have been. The amount of blood passing through these vessels would determine the amount of heat transfer.
Compared with the rest of its body, Stegosaurus had a small head and its brain was around the size of a plum.
Incursions and encounters
A Stegosaurus came through an Anomaly into the House of Commons in the present day at some point during the time when the Anomaly Research Centre was suspended, and went on a rampage. The Stegosaurus' ultimate fate is unknown however its appearance convinced the Minister reactivate the ARC.
- Rather than creating a model for the Stegosaurus in Webisode 1, the model of the Embolotherium (3.9), Scutosaurus (1.1) and Gorgonopsid (1.1) appeared to have be used. Since those creatures obviously looked nothing like Stegosaurus, low quality recordings were used.
- Because of this, the Stegosaurus was incorrectly shown with a large rhinoceros-like horn on its nose and a lack of plates on its back, in the videos.