About two months ago, I subscribed to DIRECTV via www.cable.tv. While I’ve never really been a person who loves watching television in the past, I can’t get enough of all the new programming – particularly on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel.
Much to my delight, last week happened to be “Dino Week” on Discovery Channel, and I was reintroduced to my favorite childhood dinosaur – Stegosaurus.
Stegosaurus means “roof lizard” or “covered lizard” because of the bony plates lining its spine. Growing up to 30 feet in length and weighing about four tons, the Stegosaurus roamed the Earth during the Late Jurassic period – about 155-150 million years ago.
Interestingly, although Stegosaurus was about the size of a school bus, its head was tiny – about the size of a horse’s head – and its brain was only the size of a walnut. When this dinosaur was first discovered in 1877, scientists were baffled by the fact that such a massive creature could have such a tiny brain. Consequently, Othniel C. Marsh, a renowned 19th century paleontologist, theorized that a second brain existed in the Stegosaurus’ rump, which, presumptively, helped the giant lizard control the rear part of its body.
However, that theory has largely been dismissed by modern experts. A more accepted explanation is that the cavity in the Stegosaurus’ tail was used to store excess food in the form of glycogen.