Miragaia, named for the area in which it was found (Miragaia, Portugal), is a genus of stegosaurid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Period (approximately 150 million years ago). A fairly complete half skeleton and partial skull were discovered. It was described by OctÃ¡vio Mateus and his colleagues in 2009. The type species is M. longicollum. Fragments from a juvenile individual were also found in the same bone bed as the type specimen.
Miragaia is notable for its long neck, which included at least 17
vertebrae. Miragaia had more neck vertebrae than most sauropods, dinosaurs known for their long necks. The traditional view of stegosaurid dinosaurs are low browsers with short necks. Only three sauropod dinosaurs (Euhelopus, Mamenchisaurus, and Omeisaurus) have as many neck vertebrae as Miragaia. Most sauropods only possess between 12 and 15 neck vertebra. The purpose of the longer neck has been debated. Scientists either believe it was to allow this animal to browse at higher levels that other herbivores were not utilizing, or may have been a natural evolution for sexual selection.