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Plate movement in Stegasaurs

Hello all,

After finding out that stegasaurs had no sign of muscle attachment points
to those plates along their back I've been pondering the situation. It
would seem that without some movement the alleged radiator effect would be
lessened. Dogs can raise the hair along their backs, when excited
correctly. I know these plates were several orders of magnitude more
massive than hair, but so was a stegasaur compared to the largest dog. My
question is, could these plates be moved around by body posture alteration,
skin tensioning, or some other unknown means? If one or a combination of
these forces were acting on the plates I would think some movement could

You may well ask what purpose any movemnet would serve. In a defensive
bluffing mode these movemnets could make the stegasaur seem at the least
perplexing if not a little fearsome. A potiental predator might think twice
if the stegasaurs had specific display patterns that warned of  a
hieghtened sense of danger, or awareness to the threat. To warm up in the
morning these motions could act as dirctional controls to gain surface
exposure to sunlight. The reverse could be the case for cooling.

Maybe I'm just too stuborn to let go of the notion that those plates moved,
maybe not like a limb but in the subtle way a dogs hair lofts in intense
situations. If  a color shift were to go along with these movements I can
imagine the effect to be quite striking.

Yeah, I know this is speculation, but I feel too much evolutionary effort
went into making those plates to just have them hanging along their back.

Roger A. Stephenson
proud & ethical bow-hunter