This specimen is a fragment of Stegosaurus plate, recovered from the Skull Creek Quarry in Colorado. This private quarry is part of the Morrison Formation. Specimens from this location date to the late Jurassic Period roughly 150,000,000 years ago.
📸 An example of a Small Stegosaurus plate specimen with friend in the background
Classic Riker Box Stegosaurus Plate Specimens
Classic Riker Box (Small)- Typically, 3-5mm in length, this is the classic Mini Museum specimen size found in our larger collections. The specimen is encased inside an acrylic specimen jar and can be removed for study.
Classic Riker Box (Medium)- Sizes and shapes vary widely on this specimen but they are roughly 0.75" (~2cm-3cm) in length.
Both sizes ship in our classic, glass-topped riker box cases, which measure 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". All boxed specimens include a small information card that also serves as the certificate of authenticity.
📸 An example of a Medium Stegosaurus plate specimen
📸 2.8" Stegosaurus Neural Spine Fragment. This showcase specimen is part of the "top process" of the vertebra.
In addition to the classic boxed specimens, we also have larger available.
Priced and sold individually, these specimens include larger sections of Stegosaurus plate as well as other Stegosaurus fossils. Showcase specimens ship in sturdy cartons and include individual certificates of authenticity.
TEMPORAL RANGE: 155,000,000 to 150,000,000 Years Ago
MORE ABOUT STEGOSAURUS
"Stegosaurus must have been a grand performer under attack— a five-ton ballet dancer with an armor-plated tutu of flipping bony triangles and a swinging war club." ~ Robert T. Bakker, The Dinosaur Heresies
Armored with twin rows of bony-cored plates and sharp tail spikes, Stegosaurus is one of the best known of all dinosaurs.
The plates and spikes of Stegosaurus are called osteoderms, bony deposits that form in the skin rather than growing as extensions of the skeleton. Lacking an anchor to the skeleton, some scientists believe that Stegosaurus's plates would provide limited mechanical protection. The current scientific thinking leans towards temperature regulation as the primary function.
📸 A section of a large Stegosaurus plate. (Source: Mini Museum)
📸 Top: Color-enhanced Parasagittal CT images of a Stegosaurus Plate - Farlow, Hayashi, Tattersall (2010); Bottom: 3D reconstruction of a Stegosaurus plate - Deifenbaugh, Aeschliman, Barrett, Brassey, Hayashi, Kim (2015).
ANATOMY OF THE PLATE
Osteoderms occur in many animals, from horny scales on the feet of modern birds to the keratin-cored shells of turtles. While often associated with their protective qualities, some osteoderms contain dense networks of blood vessels, which help regulate body temperature.
Using volumetric CT scans, researchers have been able to reconstruct 3D models of Stegosaurus plates, highlighting the likely paths of soft tissues and possible vascular pathways. This complex analysis shows promise when compared to similar structures in Alligators. New research also indicates that the thick osteoderms on the backs of Crocodilians store and neutralize the effect of lactic acid during periods of intense anaerobic activity.
📸 Ballou, W.H. “The Aeroplane Dinosaur of a Million Years Ago.” Ogden Standard-Examiner. August 15, 1920
Fun with a Flying Stegosaurus
It's fair to say that our understanding of Stegosaurus has changed quite a bit over the years but even we had to stop and admire the sheer fantastical leaps taken by William Hosea Ballou in this 1920 article about a "flying" Stegosaurus.
"This controversy has now been set definitively at rest by the astonishing discovery, that in the Stegosaurus was trying her apprentice hand at the first aeroplane."
Ballou was a longtime writer on natural phenomenon, publishing numerous papers in Scientific American with some geniune discoveries. However, he was also prone to flights of fancy and rather radical exaggeration.
This particular bit of whimsy caught the attention of novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs used the idea in the Tarzan story At the Earth's Core, which took place in a Hollow Earth filled with numerous savage creatures from bygone eras.
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
Farlow, James O., Carl V. Thompson, and Daniel E. Rosner. "Plates of the dinosaur Stegosaurus: forced convection heat loss fins?." Science 192.4244 (1976): 1123-1125.
De Buffrénil, V., J. O. Farlow, and A. De Ricqlès. "Growth and function of Stegosaurus plates: evidence from bone histology." Paleobiology (1986): 459-473.
Saitta, Evan Thomas. "Evidence for Sexual Dimorphism in the Plated Dinosaur Stegosaurus mjosi (Ornithischia, Stegosauria) from the Morrison Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Western USA." (2015): e0123503.
Farlow, James O., Shoji Hayashi, and Glenn J. Tattersall. "Internal vascularity of the dermal plates of Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Thyreophora)." Swiss Journal of Geosciences 103.2 (2010): 173-185.