At roughly 30 feet long, 14 feet tall, and 6,000 pounds, Colorado’s state dinosaur is comparable to a school bus in size. Which dinosaur is it, you ask? The Stegosaurus! This herbivore, very recognizable thanks to the plates that run along its back resembling a mohawk, once roamed the area that now makes up the Colorado Rockies. Paleontologists have determined that the stegosaurus thrived in Colorado throughout the late Jurassic Period which spanned from 155 to 145 million years ago.
While the first ever stegosaurus fossil was discovered just north of Morrison, Colorado in 1876, it wasn’t until 1982 that this dinosaur was officially designated to represent the state. Its name “Stegosaurus” is derived from the term “covered lizard,” thanks to its protective scales and spikes. In fact, its unique plated nature led the original discoverers to believe that the Stegosaurus was an aquatic animal much like a turtle. While it was a truly massive creature, its brain was quite small, estimated to be no larger than a walnut.
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If you’re looking to walk the same ground where this dinosaur was first discovered, the Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison is where you’ll want to go. You can either mosey around this destination by yourself or grab one of the guides to get the full story behind the excavation sites and exposed fossils in the area.
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