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Paleontology
Style over function for Stegosaurus

The spikes and plates of the Jurassic Stegosaurus may look like armor that could have staved off intrepid predators, but defense most likely was not their main purpose. According to new research, these bony growths on the back and tail were actually meant for species’ recognition — so that one Stegosaurus could pick its friends out of a crowd.

“Paleontologists have been trying to determine what the plates and spikes of stegosaurs were for, for over a century,” says Russell Main, lead author of a new study published in Paleobiology in May. “The hypotheses have included defense, thermoregulation and display, either sexual or species’ recognition.”

Read the full story, posted online May 27.

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