Wuerhosaurus lived about 135 million years ago. Itwas one of the last of a family of dinosaurs called the stegosaurs. It was a close relative of Stegosaurus. It was a very strange-looking dinosaur and a very unusual stegosaur. Most stegosaurs had tall triangle-shaped plates along their backs. But the plates on Wuerhosaurus’ back were short and square. They were also arranged evenly in sets of two down the length of its back. Most stegosaurs had plates that were uneven.
No one knows exactly what these plates were used for. Many paleontologists believe that these dinosaurs could use their plates to keep themselves warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The plates were filled with blood that pumped in and out. By standing with its plates facing the sun, a Wuerhosaurus could heat the blood and warm its whole body. When it needed to cool down, it could stand to the side or in the shade. The cooled blood would be pumped back into its body. Some paleontologists believe that if the plates had blood vessels going through them, they could probably change color too. This would have looked very interesting to a mate or very scary to a predator.
Wuerhosaurus had a shorter body and wider hips than other stegosaurs. But like all the others, it had four sharp spikes at the tip of its tail. Also like the other stegosaurs, Wuerhosaurus was an herbivore. This means that it only ate plants. It was about 27 feet long and six feet tall. This is about the size of a bus. It probably weighed about four tons. Wuerhosaurus fossils were first found in China. Its name means “lizard from Wuerho”, since that was the name of the small village where it was found.