Photo of a Stegosaurus re-creation, by Espirat via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of a Stegosaurus re-creation, by Espirat via Wikimedia Commons.

Dinosaur Sex, with Dustin Growick

Could the stegosaurus’ plates be for mating, or something else? Photo Credit: Espirat [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

Remember that Sex Education class you took in school? Well, we’re offering you another one of those classes on this episode of StarTalk All-Stars with a scientific twist: dinosaur sex education. Our dino-trio, host and science communicator Dustin Growick, comic co-host Meg Pierson, and paleontologist Shaena Montanari, are back together again to explore what we know and what we don’t know about dinosaur sex.

Join us as we discuss what social behaviors we can tell from the fossil record. Find out why studying the social behaviors of birds gives us a chance at understanding social behaviors of dinosaurs. You’ll learn if we can tell the difference between a male and female dinosaur and if dinosaurs could change sex in order to mate with one another. Ponder whether there could have been homosexuality amongst the dinosaurs, and if dinosaur feathers could tell us about differences in dino-gender. You’ll hear if dinosaurs took part in mating rituals similar to birds, and we look into the functionality of stegosaurs’ plates: were they used for fighting or flirting?

We play another round of “Is It A Dinosaur?” and Meg tries to beat her bad score from last time. Investigate the logistics of bringing two large dinosaurs together for mating, and if female dinosaurs would have killed male dinosaurs after mating. Explore if dinosaurs mated for life or if they constantly chose new partners, and if any dinosaurs were “ovoviviparous.” Discover more about bird anatomy. All that, plus, we discuss the complexities of the fossil record and its constantly shifting state.

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