Feeding and Diet
Stegosaurus stenops, like other stegosaurs, was an herbivore. It had ridged leaf-shaped teeth, though the beaked front of its jaws was toothless. S. stenops likely preferred browsing at low to medium levels (1). Analysis on the bite force of Stegosaurus finds that it had a weak bite compared to humans, dogs, and wolves. However, its biting power still would have been sufficient to bite through leaves and small branches up to 12 mm in diameter. It likely fed upon small and fast-growing plants (2). Stegosaurus tooth wear patterns indicate that it could have chewed its food, but the infrequency of tooth wear demonstrates that this was probably only an occasional behavior (3). Stegosaurus also likely used its beak in feeding, using it to chop weaker vegetation (4). Though Stegosaurus spent most of its time in a four-legged quadrupedal stance, some paleontologists think that it could have raised itself onto its back legs, supported by its tail. In this manner, it could have potentially browsed at much higher levels (5).
- 1. Paul, Gregory S. The Princeton field guide to dinosaurs. Princeton University Press, 2010.
- 2. Reichel, Miriam. "A model for the bite mechanics in the herbivorous dinosaur Stegosaurus (Ornithischia, Stegosauridae)." Swiss Journal of Geosciences 103.2 (2010): 235-240.
- 3. Weishampel, David B., Peter Dodson, and Halszka Osmólska, eds. The dinosauria. Univ of California Press, 2004.
- 4. Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Lincolnwood, Il: Publications International, 1990. Print.
- 5. Fastovsky, David E., and David B. Weishampel. The evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
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