"This is magnificent."
Eddie Carr admiring the Stegosaurus.(src)

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.[1]

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. [2]Different species varied in the number of plates on their backs.

Wikipedia has a more detailed and comprehensive article on Stegosaurus



Claire the baby Stegosaurus

Eleven Stegosaurus was successfully recreated by InGen[3] in the lab[4] on Isla Sorna.[3][4] The Stegosaurs were parented and fed in captivity on the island.[3]

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[5] while others were said to be 12 meters long,[6] 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.

Its name appeared in the Cold Storage Room,[7] so it was probably planned to appear in Phase II of Jurassic Park.[8] It was oddly mislabeled "Stegasaurus" in the storage room.[7]

Isla Nublar Incident (1993)

Stegosaurus was one of the embryos stolen by Dennis Nedry for Lewis Dodgson.[7]

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.[3]

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.[3] It is unknown how many Stegosaurs lived on the island.

Stegosaurus Skirmish

Gatherers watch stegosaurs on the Riverbank.

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.[3] She approached the herd very closely and encountered an infant, Claire[9], and took pictures of her.[3] 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.[3] She retaliated by hiding in a log nearby,[3] as a male[10] of the herd pursued her and hit the log with his thagomizer.[3]

The herd quickly left soon afterward.[3]

Isla Sorna Incident (1997)

Later, Peter Ludlow's hunters captured both an infant and an adult Stegosaurus.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3]

Isla Sorna Incident (2001)

Stegosaurs by the river.

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.[4]

Jurassic World

Jurassic World 01.png
Masrani 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

Stegosaurus in a truck.

The Stegosaurus first appear during a stampede with other dinosaurs as they run away from Mt. Sibo during its eruption, bumping into Owen’s party in the process.

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




Promotional Images

Jurassic Park

The Lost World

Jurassic Park III

Jurassic World

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Battle at Big Rock

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

Jurassic Park novel

InGen created a herd of four stegosaurs in a territory of Isla Nublar called Stegosaur South. This territory was probably located at the southern tip of the island, in the more volcanic region. Before the InGen Incident two Stegosaurus died from eating Melia azedarach and many fall ill from the plant.

It is shown in the chapter "The Tour" that more stegosaurs, as well as more Triceratops and a new dinosaur called "Coelurosaurus", were going to be hatched for the park from eggs in the hatchery.

The creature is encountered in the chapter "Stegosaurus". Donald Gennaro's inspection team arrives at the location after they had seen the Saurapod Swamp. The team leaves the Land cruisers to inspect a sick stegosaur. The creature is described as: "twenty feet long, with a huge bulky body and vertical armor plates along its back. The tail had dangerous-looking 3 foot spikes. But the neck tapered to an absurdly small head with a stupid gaze, like a very dumb horse".[11] The animal smells and pants for breath, because the current atmosphere has a lower oxygen level (21%) than in Mesozoic times (27%). Alan Grant finds raptor egg fragments within the Stego's range.

Gerry Harding tells the team that the stegosaurs make a fixed route through their territory which takes a week. One in six weeks the animals get blisters. The team discovers later that the animals get sick because once in 6 weeks the animals swallow stones which they use as gastroliths, while they do this they also swallow the berries of the poisonous Melia azedarach.

Dennis Nedry stole a Stegosaurus embryo from the Cryo Labs.

When Tim Murphy climbs out of the tree (after the T. rex attack) a Stegosaurus is walking by. The creature behaves/moves like a large tortoise. He describes it as being stupid, and he easily scares it off by throwing a rock.[12]

By the end of the novel, only 1 remains and is seen on one of the monitors fighting with the young Tyrannosaurus rex. The animal was likely killed in the Napalm Bombing.

The Lost World novel

Stegosaurus is first seen by the Site B river with the other dinosaur herds. There is a single, solitary stegosaur that is seen by the river and it is quite possibly the only Stegosaurus that is seen in the entire novel.

After Sarah Harding regained consciousness after pulling herself up onto the shore of Site B, she discovered that a stegosaur had been licking her face as she was unconscious. The stegosaur's dark-blue tongue was rough like sandpaper and its saliva smelled sweet, like fermenting African beer. She had first mistaken it for a horse, it had dull eyes and soft eyelashes, but then she discovered that the head was too narrow and the snout was too tapered. The Stegosaurus, she described, had a small head, a surprisingly thick neck, a huge and heavy lumbering body, with a double row of pentagonal plates running along the crest of the back and a dragging tail with spikes in it. At first, she thought it was a trick or a hoax. Quickly looking for a seam or mechanical motion, she soon found out it was the real creature. The skin of the Stegosaurus had a pebbled texture, not scaly like a reptile's, but more like the skin of a rhino or of a hairless warthog. Like Tim Murphy in the first novel, she found it also had a peaceful, but ignorant. She deduced from her observations that the stegosaur was warm-blooded based on its quick movements and purple tongue.


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.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park video game

Stegosaurus in PSX The Lost World game. Courtesy of Jurassica.net

Stegosaurus is an enemy in the PSX/Sega Saturn game The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It is encountered in the Tyrannosaurus level.


Stegosaurus in Trespasser.

Stegosaurus can be encountered in Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Contrary to what John Hammond says when you see your first Brachiosaurus, a Stegosaurus is a large herbivore from the Jurassic Period. It can be seen in only a few levels, one of which is level 2, the Jungle Road. In this level, the Stegosaur can be used as an alternative for guns for dealing with a nearby Tribe A Velociraptor. Stegosaurs are fairly slow when they move, and their only obvious line of defense are the 3-foot-each spikes on the tail.

Unfortunately, the Stegos in the game don't have any real tail-swipe like in the film, but the spikes can damage the player if one gets too close to them.

Warpath: Jurassic Park

Stegosaurus appears in the Audio menu of Warpath: Jurassic Park's Options mode. It oddly used Styracosaurus sound. Stegosaurus is not listed in the museum, either.


Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

see Stegosaurus/Operation Genesis

Stegosaurus also appears in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis for PS2, PC, and Xbox, as a four-star attraction. Its fossils are found in the Morrison Formation A (along with Dryosaurus and Ceratosaurus, just like in the real world. It is based on its appearance in Jurassic Park III. Stegosaurus can also have "Death Duels" with Tyrannosaurus rex, usually coming on top by swinging its spikes on to the T. rex's face, thus killing it. Tyrannosaurus will sometimes come on top by grabbing its neck and twisting it hard, very much like the Tyrannosaurus rex and Ankylosaurus death duel. This is possibly a reference to the battle between a Tyrannosaurus and a Stegosaurus in a segment of Walt Disney's Fantasia. It is a friend of Kentrosaurus and moves in herds with them. However, for most of the time, T. rex has a bigger chance in defeating Stegosaurus in Death Duel than Ankylosaurus.

The coloration is very close to The Lost World: Jurassic Park Stegosaurus.

Jurassic Park III: Park Builder

In Jurassic Park III: Park Builder, Stegosaurus is a herbivore that can be created. It is nr. 62 of the Herbivore Threes. A Mini Stegosaurus is also nr. 63 of the Herbivore Ones.

Stegosaurus from Jurassic Park III: Park Builder


Mini Stegosaurus from Jurassic Park III: Park Builder


Jurassic Park: Explorer

Stegosaurus appeared in the game Jurassic Park: Explorer.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Arcade Game)

Stegosaurus in the The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade game.

The remains of a female Stegosaurus (eaten by Compys) is encountered in the arcade game The Lost World: Jurassic Park, level 1. Some stegosaurs can be seen in the attract mode.

Jurassic Park: Builder

see Stegosaurus/Builder

Stegosaurus is one of the available dinosaurs in the social media game Jurassic Park: Builder. Though it requires dino-dollars purchase.

Jurassic World: The Game

see Stegosaurus/JW: TG

Stegosaurus is a herbivore in Jurassic World: The Game.

LEGO Jurassic World

Stegosaurus appears in LEGO Jurassic World, in the level InGen Arrival. It is first encountered near the river when Ian, Nick and Eddie are looking for Sarah. Sarah pops up in one of Nick's pictures and gives him a scare. Sarah follows the herd to see the infant. When Sarah photographs the infant with a flashlight the baby and the entire herd is scared and attacks. Sarah and Nick must shelter in a tree trunk, which the Stegosaur attacks with its tail spikes. After this has been repeated three times, the adult walks away with the rest of the herd.

In the Hunter's camp and adult and infant Stegosaur is captured. Nick and Sarah must first release the adult. Then the adult can be used to break the infant's cage and set it free.

Jurassic World: Evolution

see Stegosaurus/JW: E

Stegosaurus appears in Jurassic World: Evolution. It was initially depicted with a low-hanging tail similar to old-fashioned portraits as well as its appearance in Jurassic World. But fan criticism led to the developers updating it with an elevated tail, which is possessed by both its real-life counterpart and its appearance in both The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III.

Jurassic World: Alive

Stegosaurus will be in Jurassic World: Alive.


  • Stegosaurus is an enemy in the Jurassic Park game for NES. It kills you instantly if you walk into it, but does not attack you.
  • Stegosaurus is the 10th dinosaur that appears in Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor. A swing of its body can create a fierce whirlwind as dangerous as its spiky tail.
  • Stegosaurus is one of the animals on Jurassic Park 3 Danger Zone.

Stegosaurus from Topps Comics. (Image courtesy of Jurassic Park Legacy)

Content needed

Stegosaurus appears as a toy in the Jurassic Park Series 1 this figure inaccurately depicts Stegosaurus and The Lost World Series 1 toy line this version is much more movie accurate. A Stegosaurus was also going to be made into a figure for the Jurassic Park 2011 toy line featuring a "Dino Damage" skin patch and a whipping tail action similar to The Lost World figure. This figure was later created to be a part of the Jurassic Park 3D toy line, but it too was never released. However, its only appearance is from an image on the back of the toy packages, partially obscured by a blank, yellow sticker. A small, glass figurine of a Stegosaurus was also released. A new figure of the Stegosaurus will be released as part of the toyline for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

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

The Lost World: Jurassic Park Stegosaurus concept art.

Jurassic World Stegosaurus concept art. Note that the pose of the Stegosaurus in this conceptual art is identical to the one above.

In the film adaptation of Jurassic Park, the sick Stegosaurus is replaced by a sick Triceratops.

Steven Spielberg with the adult Stegosaurus animatronic made for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

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.[13] 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.[14] As Colin Wilson recalled, "Steven made that his mission—to come up with a really good stegosaurus [sic] sequence."[13] Two animatronic Stegosaurus was created for the film. One was an adult, whose maquettes[15] 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.[16] 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."[16] 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".[9] Claire's animatronic was sculpted and painted by Dave Grasso and mechanized by Bob Mano. It was eight feet long and four feet tall.[16]

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.[17][18]

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.[15]

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.[19] 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.[20]

Stegosaurus storyboard from Jurassic Park

For Jurassic World, Industrial Light and Magic's Steve Jubinville created the maquette that would be used to create the computer generated model seen in the film.[21]

Notes and references


The Lost World: Jurassic Park Dinosaurs
CompsognathusGallimimusMamenchisaurusPachycephalosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic Park III Dinosaurs
AnkylosaurusBrachiosaurusCeratosaurusCompsognathusCorythosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonSpinosaurusStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic World Dinosaurs
AnkylosaurusApatosaurusDimorphodonGallimimusIndominus rexMosasaurusPachycephalosaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonStegosaurusTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Dinosaurs
AllosaurusAnkylosaurusApatosaurusBaryonyxBrachiosaurusCarnotaurusCompsognathusGallimimusIndoraptorMosasaurusParasaurolophusPteranodonSinoceratopsStegosaurusStygimolochTriceratopsTyrannosaurus rexVelociraptor
Battle at Big Rock Dinosaurs
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