BIO 203


Stegosaurus and its predator AllosaurusThe Stegosaurus’s lack of agility, because of its large, lumbering body, did not provide for protection. The slow growth of the dinosaur through its developmental stages suggests that the plates and spikes evolved for defensive reasons on the dinosaur. The Stegosaurus also shared its habitat with other organisms. The herbivore Camptosaurus was one of these dinosaurs roaming the same grounds as the Stegosaurus (Redelstorff and Sander 2009). The dinosaurs also interacted  with land animals that roamed in the drier parts of the flood plain, like the Camptosaurus (Foster 2013). According to fossil evidence, shrew-like mammals, mollusks (like this common land snail), insects, lizards (like the Komodo Dragon or Bearded Dragon), and frogs (like the Green Frog) have been suggested to have lived among the Stegosaurus as well. (Matthews 2003). These types of organisms would have competed with this dinosaur for food and land space.

On the other hand, the Stegosaurus also shared its habitat with predators. Stegosaurus evolved some adaptations to protect itself from predators. They used their tail spikes as a defensive mechanism against predators such as Allosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Torvosaurus, Marshosaurus, and Stokesosaurus (Foster 2007). It has been suggested that their back plates, on the other hand, were used for thermoregulation and mating display. Hayashi and his group suggest that the larger plates gave an increased advantage for the dinosaur to be able to protect and defend itself among its predators (Hayashi 2010). The most vulnerable were the young Stegosaurs who could easily fall prey to bigger theropods (Foster 2007). Although the Stegosaurus had predators, it also had prey (Check out its Nutrition).


Where did the Stegosaurus fit into the food chain?

The Stegosaurus happened to be the largest herbivorian dinosaur that was not a nonsauropod living in the Morrision Formation (Foster 2007). This means that the Stegosaurus  was closer to the top of food chain due to size, but there were a few carnivorous dinosaurs above it as well.


Now, check out some interesting Stegosaurus Facts.


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