Stegosaurus is a genus of stegosaurid armored dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period (Kimmeridgian to early Tithonian) in what is now western North America. In 2006, a specimen of Stegosaurus was announced from Portugal, showing that they were present in Europe as well. Due to its distinctive tail spikes and plates, Stegosaurus is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs, along with Tyrannosaurus, Triceratops, and Apatosaurus. The name Stegosaurus means "roof lizard" (sometimes put as "covered lizard", but in the sense that a roof covers a building) and is derived from the Greek st????-, stegos- ("roof") and sa????, -sauros ("lizard"). At least three species have been identified in the upper Morrison Formation and are known from the remains of about 80 individuals. They lived some 155 to 150 million years ago, in an environment and time dominated by the giant sauropods Diplodocus, Camarasaurus, and Apatosaurus.
A large, heavily built, herbivorous quadruped, Stegosaurus had a distinctive and unusual posture, with a heavily rounded back, short forelimbs, head held low to the ground and a stiffened tail held high in the air. Its array of plates and spikes has been the subject of much speculation. The spikes were most likely used for defense, while the plates have also been proposed as a defensive mechanism, as well as having display and thermoregulatory (heat control) functions. Stegosaurus was the largest of all the stegosaurians (bigger than genera such as Kentrosaurus and Huayangosaurus) and, although roughly bus-sized, it nonetheless shared many anatomical features (including the tail spines and plates) with the other stegosaurian genera.
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