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Roofed-reptile overhaul



Stegosaurus, one of the most popular non-theropod dinosaurs. 

2016 update: As strange as it must seem given how often Stegosaurus has been portrayed and how many specimens are known (for well over a century!), but we actually knew surprisingly little about the basic proportions of Stegosaurus until very recently. That's because previous specimens were either not prepared out all the way (to preserve taphonomic data) or were mounted as composite specimens.

That all changed last year when Maidment, Brassey, & Barrett published the Sophie specimen: journals.plos.org/plosone/arti…
Among other things it turns out that Stegosaurus has more cervicals and fewer dorsals had been previously been thought. This results in a less tall-bodied and longer-necked animal. In retrospect perhaps this isn't shocking - Kentrosaurus appears to also have had a longer neck than some early reconstructions suggested, and of course Miragaia took this one extra step in its neck-elongation.

Another odd feature is that the tail has a distinct down-curve in the posterior portion. I've gone over the distal caudals several times and the downcurve does not seem like a preservational artifact, so I'm including it in the reconstruction. One interesting side-effect of this is that the thagomizer is now oriented at a more useful angle for swinging at an attacker (I do not consider the laterally-facing spike suggestion to be likely), and notably other stegosaurs also seem to have their distal tail spikes end up facing closer to horizontal as well, either through tail articulation or by changing the angle of the spikes.

So now Stegosaurus does not stand out quite as drastically from its close relatives. It still looks pretty cool though, if you ask me.
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Taliesaurus's avatar
is this a fully grown specimen?