The Miragaia was a long-necked, herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period. The name “Miragaia” is a Portuguese word for “Beautiful Earth Goddess,” which is fitting because the first fossils of this dinosaur were discovered in the desert. The Miragaia is thought to have lived in what is now Europe, and its remains have been found in Portugal, Spain, and France.

Key Facts

Miragaia pronunciationmeer-UH-guy-UH
What does Miragaia mean?The beautiful goddess of the earth
Dinosaur typeStegosauria
On the menuHerbivorous
Length6 meters ( 20 feet)
Height2 m (  7 feet )
Weight2 tons (about 4400 lbs)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundQuadruped
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedLate Jurassic era 156-145 million years ago
Where they have been found?Portugal

When & Where

The first person to fully study and describe the Miragaia was paleontologist Octávio Mateus in 2009. This study came after a discovery was made near the village of Miragaia in the Spanish county of Lourinha. The find comprised an almost complete front skeleton with a partial skull from which scientists deduced the evidence of Miragaia’s presence in the region some 150 million years ago.  

Size & Weight

The Miragaia is thought to have been about 20 feet long, with a long neck that could reach up to 7 feet. It weighed up to 2 metric tons in body mass and had a long tail that may have been used to help balance its body. The Miragaia is one of the most well-known dinosaurs from the Late Jurassic period.

Mobility & Diet

The Miragaia was a herbivore, meaning that it ate plants. It is thought to have used its long neck to reach leaves and fruits that other animals couldn’t reach. The Miragaia was a slow-moving quadrupedal dinosaur and may likely have been an easy target for predators. 

Interesting Points

  • Miragaia has the longest neck known for any Stegosaurian.
  • The excavation of its first fossils was the last major excavation of a dinosaur that Professor William Harlow Reed (University of Wyoming) was personally involved in.
  • Miragaia was in the documentary Dinosaur Revolution, where a herd of them lived by a dried-up watering hole and lived near a Dinheirosaurus herd and an Allosaurus.

Featured Image Credit: Nobu Tamura, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons