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Any of the plated dinosaur species, including Stegosaurus, of the Late Jurassic Epoch (159–144 million years ago). Stegosaurs were four-legged herbivores that reached a maximum length of about 30 ft (9 m). The skull and brain were very small. The forelimbs were much shorter than the hind limbs, the back was arched, and the feet were short and broad. Stegosaurs had double rows of large, triangular, bony plates along their backs and tail that may have been a temperature-regulating system. Pairs of long, pointed, bony spikes on the end of the tail were probably defensive weapons.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on stegosaur, visit Britannica.com.