Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Who Would Win a Fight?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 11, 2022
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When we conceptualize battles between herbivores and carnivores, it’s sometimes too easy to rule in favor of the animal that is an apex predator. However, this mode of thinking is harder to apply to creatures of the past, like dinosaurs. Prehistoric giants like the Stegosaurus may not have possessed hunting instincts, but they had the power to fight off deadly foes. How would they fare against one of the deadliest dinosaurs, the T-Rex? Get ready to find out as we show you how a Stegosaurus vs T-Rex fight would have played out.

Comparing a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex

T-Rex had the speed advantage and deadly attack prowess.

StegosaurusT-Rex
SizeWeight: 11,000lbs-15,400lbs
Height: 7ft-9ft at the hip, 14ft tall overall
Length: 20ft-30ft
Weight: 11,000-15,000lbs
Height: 12-20ft
Length: 40ft
Speed and Movement Type– 3.5-4.3 mph17 mph (potentially higher)
– Bipedal strides
Defenses– Had up to 22 dermal plates that rose from their back which may have been used for defense – Strong bones
– Large Size
– Massive size
– Hunting senses
– Running speed
Offensive Capabilities– Would swing its tail and slam its thagomizer (tail spikes) into predators
–  Tail spikes measure between 2ft and 3ft
– Bone-crushing bites
– Speed to chase down enemies – 17,000lbf bite power  
– 50-60 D-shaped serrated teeth – 12-inch teeth
Predatory Behavior– None, as it was an herbivore  – Apex predator with the strongest bite of any terrestrial animal

What Are Key Differences Between a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex?

Giganotosaurus vs T-Rex - T Rex hunting

T-Rex was a powerful predator that roamed the Earth million years ago.

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©Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com

The most notable differences between a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex include their morphology and predatory behaviors. Stegosaurus was a quadrupedal herbivore with an unusually small head and brain, a row of bony plates standing on its back, and a long tail with spikes on its end. T-Rex was a bipedal carnivore with large, muscular legs and a massive head featuring 50 teeth measuring 12 inches each.

These defining characteristics of the two dinosaurs will help us understand the power that each animal brings to the fight. However, we need other pieces of this puzzle to help determine which dinosaur had the best chance of dominating the other one.

What Are the Key Factors in a Fight Between a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex?

Allosaurus vs T-Rex - T-Rex Battle

Attack power is very important in figuring out the winner of a dinosaur battle.

©Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com

Aside from their unique bodies, we need to look at typical elements that help one animal win fights against the other. That’s why we’re going to examine traits like speed, movement, defenses, and more, see which of these reptiles has the advantage in each case, and then review all the data to determine a winner!

Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Size

T-Rex was larger than the Stegosaurus in two out of three measures. The average T-Rex could weigh up to 15,000lbs, stand 20ft tall, and measure up to 40ft long. The Stegosaurus could weigh up to 15,400lbs as a short, thick dinosaur. It would often stand about 7ft-9ft at the hip and 14ft overall and could measure 20ft-30ft long!

T-Rex has the size advantage for this fight!

Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Speed and Movement

T-Rex was faster than Stegosaurus. This bipedal hunter could walk at 17 mph with its long strides, and some scientists believe that it could have moved even faster. However, we know that the Stegosaurus was much slower, perhaps reaching 4.3 mph as a large, slow quadruped.

The T-Rex has a speed advantage over the Stegosaurus.

Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Defenses

Stegosaurus in Forest

Stegosaurus has strong bones and dermal plates for defense.

©Warpaint/Shutterstock.com

The Stegosaurus had great defenses stemming from its large body, strong bones, and dermal plates. These bony vertical plates were probably used for defense against predators, but their use is not fully understood. We don’t know if the Stegosaurus could move or align them by flexing the muscles below.

The T-Rex had its size, speed, and hunting senses to keep it safe. That was probably enough to fend off any potential attacks by all but the biggest enemies.

The Stegosaurus has the defensive advantage.

Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Offensive Capabilities

The Stegosaurus was far from an offensive powerhouse, but it could defend itself. This large herbivore could swing its tail at predators, smashing 4 spikes measuring between 2 and 3ft into its enemies.

The only downside was that this tail was situated relatively close to the ground rather than held aloft, so it may not have been able to take down large predators. Still, a 3ft spike penetrating the body cavity of a dinosaur would prove more than uncomfortable if it wasn’t immediately fatal.

T-Rex had a simple approach to offense: bite things. The T-Rex had a massive head with immensely powerful jaws that could help them exert between 8,000 and 12,800 PSI on their prey, one of the strongest bite forces of any terrestrial animal.

Each bite would drive 12-inch serrated teeth into its prey, instantly killing or shearing massive amounts of flesh from its prey. Moreover, T-Rex had the speed needed to catch a lot of its prey.

T-Rex has the offensive advantage.  

Stegosaurus vs T-Rex: Predatory Behavior

T-Rex was most likely an apex predator, but some scientists also think that it was a scavenger. Either way, this creature could find large quantities of food and secure it by stealing kills or killing outright.

Stegosaurus was an herbivore that ate significant amounts of vegetation to maintain energy stores and support its large body.

T-Rex has the advantage in predatory behaviors.  

Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Stegosaurus and a T-Rex?

How Long Were Dinosaurs on Earth

T-Rex had the power to take down many dinosaurs.

©Orla/Shutterstock.com

T-Rex would win a fight against a Stegosaurus. Although Stegosaurus possessed a powerful method of attack that could have severely harmed the T-Rex’s legs, a few problems exist with the herbivore fighting off the carnivore. For one thing, Stegosaurus was not an intelligent dinosaur. It had an incredibly small brain, even for one of these creatures. It was probably not going to time a perfect hit against the rapidly encroaching T-Rex.

Also, if Stegosaurus was going to land an attack, it would probably land on the lower portion of the tall T-Rex, meaning the T-Rex was going to be nearly on top of the Stegosaurus before the tail swing happened. In that case, the T-Rex would be in a position to launch a far more devastating attack. Even if the Stegosaurus hit the T-Rex, it would still be too close to escape the hungry predator.

T-Rex would probably bite the animal’s head or neck or attempt to knock the dinosaur over entirely to avoid the dermal plates on its back.  No matter how we look at this situation, things don’t look good for the Stegosaurus.  

Interestingly, the T-Rex and the Stegosaurus never walked the Earth at the same time as one another. They were separated by almost 50 million years in time, almost the same amount of time between the T-Rex and modern human beings.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Warpaint/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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