After recently rewatching Planet Dinosaur and seeing how they portrayed a relationship between the Jurassic dinosaurs stegosaurus and camptosaurus, I thought that it would be worthwhile to go over it for those who haven’t watched it and give my opinion on the matter.
Stegosaurus is a very commonly known dinosaur and a frequent occurrence in a lot of children’s dinosaur books, but it is quite often not portrayed as accurately as one would wish. As you can see in the image from Planet Dinosaur above, stegosaurus’s back was lined with bony plates to scare off predators.The documentary hasn’t done a very good job on the plates, though, as they’re meant to be dully coloured most of the time and only flushed red with colour to scare off predators. If you look closely at the image, you can see to the left of the left stegosaurus there is a white spike – commonly known as a thagomizer poking through. Although you can’t see it in the image, stegosaurus had four of these thagomizers at the end of its tail to fight off predators. In addition to this, stegosaurus had bony lumps on the skin of its throat to protect it from predators. Stegosaurus’s main drawback was its brain – which was around the size of a sausage folded in half.
The other dinosaurs you see grazing near the stegosaurus – you get a better view on the far left – are camptosaurus. These dinosaurs are a lot smaller than the larger stegosaurus, but are a lot cleverer, with keen senses that can spot a predator and give an early warning.
The theory that Planet Dinosaur came up with – namely that stegosaurus and camptosaurus lived together in herds to protect from predators, the stegosaurs being the brawn and the camptosaurus the brain – is quite interesting, and is supported by fossil evidence of them living side by side.
Also, examples of this do exist in modern day species. In modern day Africa, water buffaloes and a type of bird called egrets work together. The Egrets eat parasites off the water buffalo’s back and insects startled into the air, and in return provides an early warning system for the buffalo.
This theory could quite likely be true, given above thought, and it would be an awesome addition to the world of dinosaur behaviour.
This alliance would have been very good for the two dinosaurs, considering the predators around at that time, such as this allosaurus.