Stegosaurus is easily one of the best known dinosaurs and is recognized all over the world. It is the largest and most famous member of the stegosaur family. It roamed the open plains of the Late Jurassic Period in what is now North America. The plates along its back, its small head and spiked tail make it a peculiar and unique dinosaur. This plant-eater evolved to find its food in the low-growing plants of the late Jurassic. The spikes on its tail would have made a powerful weapon against any hungry predators.
Stegosaurus is often called the dumbest dinosaur because of its incredibly small brain. In fact, most scientists originally believed that its brain was too small to control such a large creature and that it used an auxiliary "brain" located above its rear legs to help control its movements. This was not actually a brain, but a bundle of nerves that helped relay information from its real brain. Its brain was once thought to have been the size of a walnut, but CAT-scans proved that it was actually the size of a kitten.
Most fascinating to people are the plates along its back. There has been a great deal of debate about their use and arrangement. The plates were up to 2-feet tall and 2-feet wide (0.6 meters). The most prevalent theory is that they were used for cooling or heating the animal. A more recent theory, however, suggests that they could have been used as a display during courtship and that they may have been brightly colored. It is also possible that they could move up and down, perhaps to intimidate predators.
The spikes on its tail are also the subjects of some controversy. For years, every model of Stegosaurus showed it with the spikes sticking up into the air. It is only since the 1990s that it has become accepted that these spikes stuck out horizontal to the ground, which would have been a potent defensive weapon when swung at a hunter.
Stegosaurus would have lived in family groups and herds, moving slowly through forests while eating the low-growing plants. Its front legs were considerably shorter than it's hind legs, making it adapted to nibbling the plants closest to the ground. Stegosaurus is the namesake for a large family of dinosaurs whose members were found all over the world. The Stegosaurus (its code name "Stego") was a peaceful herbivore and probably roamed the prehistoric highlands in herds that size from small to large numbers, grazing on low ground plants. An average Stegosaurus was about the size of an elephant, standing about 11 feet tall. It had a very low intelligence (its brain was the size of a kitten). The bony plates on it's back may have served a dual purpose of a body temperature regulation and protection from large flesh-eating predators. Different species varied in the number of plates on their backs.
The clones were green in color with brown plates exhibiting a paler center. The size of InGen's Stegosaurus varied, some were about 7 meters in length like the species Stegosaurus stenops while others were said to be 12 meters long, which is much larger than Stegosaurus ungulatus, the largest known Stegosaur. InGen may have increased its size to make it more spectacular. The clones lacked ossicles, or throat armor, the downward curved tips of their tails, and the long necks, unlike the originals.
Living in the wild
When Hurricane Clarissa struck Isla Sorna, the InGen personnel left the island. The Stegosaurs were either set free by the workers, broke out on their own or because the storm had damaged fences. Stegosaurus roamed freely across the island. Massive animals, they were some of the largest of the animals on the island.
The Stegosaurs had to learn to live in the wild. Since they no longer received lysine supplements in their food, they started to eat lysine-rich plants. It is unknown how many Stegosaurs lived on the island.
In 1997, the Gatherers encountered a small Stegosaurus herd near a river bed; a pair bond, a subadult, and an infant. Dr. Sarah Harding, who had arrived on Isla Sorna before the rest of her team did, was taking photographs of this herd when the other Gatherers found her. She approached the herd very closely and encountered an infant, Claire, and took pictures of her. But the film of her camera was full and it began to make noises. Because of the noise, the herd saw Sarah as a threat to their young and started to attack Sarah. She retaliated by hiding in a log nearby, as a male of the herd pursued her and hit the log with his thagomizer.
The herd quickly left soon afterward.
Later, Peter Ludlow's hunters captured both an infant and an adult Stegosaurus. It is unknown if the baby Stegosaurus is Claire or an entirely different infant. These stegosaurs were later freed by Gathers Nick Van Owen and Dr. Sarah Harding.
In the aftermath, another herd was present that contained another juvenile that might have also been Claire after the Tyrannosaur Buck and Junior had been returned to the island after the San Diego Incident.
Stegosaurs were briefly encountered twice by Dr. Alan Grant and the Kirby family when they flew over Sorna and when they traveled through one of the rivers of Isla Sorna on the Isla Sorna Aviary's barge where the Stegosaurus lined the riversides.
Jurassic WorldMasrani Global Corporation created a new dinosaur zoo on Isla Nublar: Jurassic World. These new clones had a dark tan skin with light olive green. Their plates were black with a brown horizontal stripe. The size is far more accurate compared to the InGen clones. These new clones have inaccurate drooping tail most of the time, as well as less pronounced beaks blended into the skin, although the individuals in Camp Cretaceous actually have beaks, and the striped individuals that resides in Camp Cretaceous were the males. The new cloned Stegosaurus lived in the Cretaceous Cruise, the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo and the Gyrosphere Valley.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Several Stegosaurus were successfully captured by Ken Wheatley and his group of mercenaries to be loaded on to Arcadia to be taken to the mainland. One individual is about to be loaded onto the ship until Wheatley ordered the truck carrying it to stop for a while. Wheatley soothes the tranquilized dinosaur's head for a bit before brandishing his pliers to pull one of its teeth out. He taunted the Stegosaurus by showing it its own tooth before placing it among his collection of other dinosaur teeth he had extracted and kept as trophies.
When the ship Arcadia left Isla Nublar, one seemingly distressed adult Stegosaurus could be seen calling out from its cage.
The captured Stegosaurus were locked and cages for auction, with one being successfully sold. They were once again threatened by death due to some poisonous gas. Luckily, they were released from their cages by Claire Dearing and were able to escape thanks to Maisie Lockwood. They were last seen escaping the Lockwood Manor along with many other dinosaurs and fleeing into the forests of Northern California.
Battle at Big Rock
Stegosaurus makes a brief cameo in the short, with it crossing the road while unintentionally running a motorist off the road during the end credits.
The iconic haunting howl of the Stegosaurus was made from the call of Sea Lion
A bioluminescent Stegosaurus and it's baby are seen walking through the jungles of Isla Nublar. The animals created as members of a night time parade down Main Street. The creatures wander around before exiting and the group moves on after a quick break viewing the glowing dinosaurs.
A pair of Stegosaurus are seen in the Jurassic Park: River Adventure ride. One of the Stegosaurus appears to be a baby. They reside in Stegosaurus Springs, the ride's equivalent of the novel's Stegosaurus South.
Behind the scenes
In the film adaptation of Jurassic Park, the sick Stegosaurus is replaced by a sick Triceratops.
Stegosaurus was added to the roster of dinosaurs that would appear in The Lost World: Jurassic Park early in its development cycle. The reason for the plated dinosaur being in the film was because director Steven Spielberg received "literally thousands" of letters, many of which came from children, inquiring why Stegosaurus was absent in the first film. Conceptual artist for the dinosaurs for the first three films, Mark "Crash" McCreery, had previously expressed in the Jurassic Park Topps trading cards his regret that Stegosaurus was not among the dinosaurs that appeared in Jurassic Park. As Colin Wilson recalled, "Steven made that his mission—to come up with a really good stegosaurus [sic] sequence." Two animatronic Stegosaurus was created for the film. One was an adult, whose maquettes and animatronic were created by a five-person team headed by Mark Maitre and Scott Stoddard with Al Sousa and Kirk Skodis being in charge of the mechanical armature of the animatronic. Of the animatronic, John Rosengrant stated, "From the top of its spiny plates, it was about sixteen feet tall, and almost twenty-six feet in length." It was, at the time, the second largest creature Stan Winston Studio had built. The second animatronic was a juvenile that was assigned the name "Claire". Claire's animatronic was sculpted and painted by Dave Grasso and mechanized by Bob Mano. It was eight feet long and four feet tall.
Cinefex issue #70 revealed that the scale of the digital Stegosaurus models was determined on a shot-by-shot basis, guided more by dramatic requirements than a commitment to scientific fact. Some shots of the dinosaur showed it reaching a length as long as forty-six feet.
Despite concept art and one of the maquettes of the adult Stegosaurus depicting it with its tail dragging like older restorations, the stegosaurs in The Lost World and following film Jurassic Park III lacked this trait, though 2015's Jurassic World would later feature a Stegosaurus that briefly tail dragged along with a Triceratops that did the same. Like with the Pachycephalosaurus that appeared in TLW with the Stegosaurs, the Stegosaurus went through many changes in terms of its coloration. Mark Maitre, was responsible for creating a total of six of these conceptual skin colorations.
Both Stegosaur animatronics were transported to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California for the filming of the Stegosaurus skirmish. The juvenile animatronic was the only practical stegosaur that was filmed as Steven Speilberg, Stan Winston, and stunt coordinator Gary Hymes agreed that stunts with the adult Stegosaur animatronic would be potentially dangerous—particularly because of its spiked tail—and filming with the adult was rescheduled for one of the stages of Universal Studios feeling these stunts would be safer inside a controlled environment. Ultimately, almost all of the shots of the adult Stegosaurus were created in CGI with the animatronic only being used in close-up shots, such as the caged Stegosaur that Nick and Sarah approach when infiltrating the camp of the InGen Hunters.
Notes and references
- Stegosaur information at the Dinopedia section of the JPI site
- Inkworks Jurassic Park III Premium Trading Cards #63.
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park
- Jurassic Park III
- In the book The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, John Rosengrant describes the length of the Stegosaurus animatronic used in the film as being "almost twenty-six feet in length."
- Jurassic Park III Size Chart
- Jurassic Park
- Stegosaurus does not appear in any version of the Jurassic Park brochure, nor in the InGen Field Journal, InGen Field Guide and Tour the Island website.
- In the DVD The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Julianne Moore says that "Claire" is the name assigned to the animatronic of the juvenile Stegosaurus.
- The book The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park identifies the Stegosaurus that chases Sarah as being male.
- The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, p.15
- Jurassic Park Topps trading cards #84
- charmskool.com - The Lost World Jurassic Park
- The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, p.48
- Cinefex #70, pg. 87
- Cinefex #70, pg. 88
- The Making of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, pp. 90-92
- Return to Jurassic Park: Finding "The Lost World"
- stevejubinville.com - Jurassic World 2015.
|The Lost World: Jurassic Park Dinosaurs|
|Compsognathus • Gallimimus • Mamenchisaurus • Pachycephalosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic Park III Dinosaurs|
|Ankylosaurus • Brachiosaurus • Ceratosaurus • Compsognathus • Corythosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Spinosaurus • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic World Dinosaurs|
|Ankylosaurus • Apatosaurus • Dimorphodon • Gallimimus • Indominus rex • Mosasaurus • Pachycephalosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Dinosaurs|
|Allosaurus • Ankylosaurus • Apatosaurus • Baryonyx • Brachiosaurus • Carnotaurus • Compsognathus • Gallimimus • Indoraptor • Mosasaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Sinoceratops • Stegosaurus • Stygimoloch • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Battle at Big Rock Dinosaurs|
|Allosaurus • Compsognathus • Mosasaurus • Nasutoceratops • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Stegosaurus|