This is the most well known of the four species within the genus Stegosaurus, and had larger, broader plates than any of the others. It was a large Late Jurassic dinosaur, with a short neck and bowed posture that suggests that it ate low-lying shrubs and bushes.
The plates of Stegosaurus could have been used for thermoregulation or display- two uses that can be proven by the presence of intricate pathways over the plate surfaces, where veins would have been during life. Being so close to the skin’s surface means that heat can pass to and from the blood with relative ease, a process that the Stegosaurus could have controlled by changing the amount of blood flow to the plates, depending on the temperature of its surroundings. This could have given Stegosaurus an advantage over other large animals- by being able to warm up early with the sun, it would have fed whilst other dinosaurs and similar creatures were still too cold to move around enough. And when faced with a rival, Stegosaurus could have flushed its plates with blood, reddening the skin and warning the other animal. If that didn’t work, then it might have charged, or used its formidable tail spikes in defense of an attack.