“Narrow-faced covered / roofed reptile”
Height: 3.1 meters
Length: 7.8 meters
Weight: 4.8 tonnes
Specimen Name: Marie
Stegosaurus is a household name amongst dinosaur enthusiasts both big and small, and for good reason! Stegosaurids as a clade have some of the most defining dinosaurian traits: dorsal plates / spikes and the thagomizer. The arrangement and function of the plates is a debate dating back to Stegosaurus‘ discovery in the late 1800s by Othniel Charles Marsh; he hypothesized the plates would be arranged in a manner similar to that of a pangolin, where they covered the entire animal.
This is where the name Stegosaurus comes from: “covered (or roofed) reptile.” Of course this restoration is outdated. S. stenops and its sister species S. ungulatus have somewhere in the neighborhood of 18-24 plates (depending on who’s counting) that run along the back in a loosely-alternating pattern after the first few on the neck. Here, Marie is shown with the plate arrangement based on the subadult Sophie specimen currently housed in London, which has an astounding >80% completeness!
Despite being comparatively smaller in size to some other herbivores that shared this animal’s habitat (Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, etc.), Marie and the rest of her kind were rather successful, low-browsing ornithischians. The recent find of further neck vertebrae extends the stationary feeding range of this genus, allowing it to stand in one place and clear a larger volume of plant matter than it would with the typically-renditioned stubby neck.
[Most text recycled from earlier Stegosaurus posts.]
Artist’s Notes / Updates:
This Stegosaurus is one of many that I’ve restored, but this is the most active pose I’ve given one. She’s poised and ready to strike at a moment’s notice, so it’s best to keep your distance! I expedited a steg post because this animal plays a pivotal role in my upcoming short story Chasing Dragons (as do T. rex and Triceratops, but I’ll get to those guys…eventually).
The runny, blotchy pattern on her plates is primarily based on the extant lizard genus Heloderma–with some notable members including the Gila monster and the Guatemalan beaded lizard. I felt those spunky critters would be nice to paint her plates around. There’s also a very subtle set of spots and bands embedded in the greener parts of her skin inspired from alligator lizards (genus Elgaria).
I’ve updated my website to feature my newer digital pieces to reset my “continuity,” and I’m soon going to upload my favorite physical sketch work. Keep an eye for that.
Until next time!