Age of dinosaurs discussion question and two student reply’s

What was the correct arrangement and function of the plates of Stegosaurus?

Discussion: What was the correct arrangement and function of the plates of Stegosaurus? Why?

2.) reply to two student posts below



After reading the chapter, it states that the correct arrangement of the plates was that they were on their backs and divided into 2 rows, one on each side of the back. Paleontologists were not fully able to put together this dinosaur completely. Some say that they were used as a defense mechanism to protect against other dinosaurs from flank attacks or being snuck upon. The reason this was debunked was that the plates on the back were too fragile and filled with blood. Since they were like this, it was almost useless as a defense mechanism. So, it was suggested that their actual function was to be used for thermoregulation. Since they were filled with blood, Jim Farlow, a dinosaur researcher, states that the plates pumped blood through that would have increased the surface area over which the blood was exposed so it could be cooled down with shade and heated up in the sun. However, they mentioned that the spikes on the tail could’ve been used as a defense mechanism.

Kristine Mckeown


The Stegosaurus is a very interesting example of how bodies adapt to environments. The Stegosaurus has diamond-shaped plates that run down its spine from the base of its scull to the middle of its tail. Earlier paleontologists believed these to be a defensive mechanism for the large lizard-like dinosaurs but this theory is not logically based on at least two facts. The first is that the plates have blood vessels that run inside of them making the plates not very useful in battle. The second is that the plates don’t offer much coverage to vital parts of the Stegosaur’s body thus leaving it unprotected. More recent studies done by paleontologist James Farlow in the 1970s suggest a new theory to the diamond-shaped plates’ function. He suggests that the plates acted as heating and cooling elements for the large lizard-like dinosaur. Like solar panels that retrain and store heat for functional uses of survival. This is a far more probable theory.

Answer preview what was the correct arrangement and function of the plates of Stegosaurus?


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