STL Science Center

STL Science Center

21 May 2015

Popular Everywhere

I have had plastic Stegosaurus toys since I knew there were dinosaur toys. I have a number now. I also have a Stegosaurus shaped pillow that roars. It is a generic roar, but a roar nonetheless. Some of the most popular venues for Stegosaurus have been the Jurassic Park series (the novel featured a sick Stegosaurus, not Triceratops), the Walking with... series, and the non-descript little plastic dinosaurs that one can purchase anywhere in the world. Other iterations of Stegosaurus have made their ways into popular books, television shows, and other imagery, but the Stegosaurus in my mind will always be tied to those plastic toys in some aspect. The DinoRiders Stegosaurus is a pretty iconic dinosaur also, right up there with Snarl from Transformers (which apparently later becomes a cat of some kind?). Regardless, the fame of Stegosaurus translates into many appearances, a wide audience, and some nifty kid's books.

20 May 2015

Iterations of Spikes

Stegosaurus has gone through many iterations of posture and general body shape. The plates of Stegosaurus have been the subject of just as many interpretations as the entire of body the animal. These have ranged from tall triangular plates to flattened roof-like plates (from whence the name Stegosaurus, "roof lizard" comes). These shapes are all based on the different fossil plates that have been recovered. They are mostly the same shapes of course, but morphological differences and soft tissue on the plates may have altered how the living animal looked significantly. The differences can be seen in the many different illustrations below.
Middle "roofed" plates illustration by Giovanni Caselli. Other illustrations are unknown.

19 May 2015

Special References

Old publications or new publications; either general topic will allow you to retrieve hundreds of writings concerning Stegosaurus. Dinosaurs that are as popular in video formats as Stegosaurus was yesterday tend to have a lot of printed material devoted to them as well and this genus is, of course, not an exception as it has hundreds, maybe even thousands, of papers and books that focus on or dedicate some text to Stegosaurus. One of the better old books was written by CW Gilmore in 1914 and discusses all of the "armored Dinosauria" that was at the time in the Smithsonian (United States National Museum). Throughout the 20th Century Stegosaurus was revisited time and again, especially after the discovery of non-North American members of its family. All of the literature that exists is far too much to read. I picked out some interesting reads instead. These should be fun, some may be a bit older and therefore out of date, but fun anyway:

Heat loss through convection

Growth of plates

Stegosaurus plate vasculature

Histology of Stegosaurus plates

18 May 2015

Movie Dinosaurs

Stegosaurus is a simple dinosaur to find movies for. The real problem is actually weeding out the poor quality movies and terrible interpretations of Stegosaurus. We can highlight the best Stegosaurus movies and let the readers decide which are their favorites for the day:

Walking with Dinosaurs:

Walking with Dinosaurs' stage show:

I'm A Dinosaur's Stegosaurus:

The Land Before Time's Spike:

Green Rabbit's singing Stegosaurus:

The Lost World:

17 May 2015

Stegosaurus the Mighty

There are tomes dedicated to Stegosaurus. Actual tomes of knowledge and popular culture artifacts, drawings, and videos. Stegosaurus has always been a popular dinosaur, partly because of its rather interesting skeletal anatomy if for no other reason. Regardless, it presents very interesting links from a wide variety of sources. These include strictly educational sites like the New Zealand hosted Science Kids and the less professional, but just as educational, Kids Dig Dinos. There are, due to its popularity, also PBS videos and a lot of coloring pages. Simply searching for Stegosaurus brings up far more links than I could possibly discuss in one day. It is a scary amount of information, I promise.

16 May 2015

Comparisons of Then and Now

The interpretations of Stegosaurus over the years have changed, as they have with all kinds of dinosaurs. Originally, the iconic stegosaurs of yesteryears were small headed tail dragging plate bearing arches with stubby little legs. As with many other dinosaurs the original interpretations were also swamping dwelling monsters with little intelligence and slow ponderous gait. The reality of dinosaurs, we know now, was rather different, and Stegosaurus was more than likely no different. Since the older interpretations fell out of favor the limbs have become more erected and the tail, hips, and back have changed their orientations sufficiently to change the entire look of the dinosaur dramatically. No longer do stegosaurs appear to be shuffling lizards of the swamps, but a believably active and high energy herbivore has come to exist in the minds of dinosaur enthusiasts and casual dinosaur recognizers alike. Most people may not draw the connection between stegosaurs of then and now, but they can tell you, without any knowledge of Stegosaurus that the newer illustrations look far more dynamic and energetic. They certainly look as though they would be able to swing that tail with much more vigor and probably chase down an intruder or conspecific territory encroacher, assuming they were ever territorial.

15 May 2015

Alarm System

There is, in our posts, a stunning lack of an amazingly iconic dinosaur. I searched all the posts and somehow missed one of the most iconic dinosaurs of the American West. If I have not missed it and we are repeating a week, that is also okay because I will definitely find new materials. It will be new information to everyone regardless. Therefore, for this week, we will go over the fantastic dinosaur Stegosaurus. Be prepared. Be happy. Be patient with Stegosaurus if we have repeated this information.