Triceratops ‭(‬Three horned face‭)‬

Short Info

Triceratops ‭(‬Three horned face‭)‬

Phonetic : Tri-seh-rah-tops

Named By : Othniel Charles Marsh‭ ‬-‭ ‬1889

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated 8 – 9 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Ceratopsian

Type Species : T.‭ ‬horridus‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬prorsus

Found in : USA,‭ ‬Colorado,‭ ‬Montana,‭ ‬South Dakota,‭ ‬Wyoming.‭ ‬Canada,‭ ‬Alberta,‭ ‬Saskatchewan

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 68-66 million years ago

Triceratops is one of the extinct genera belonging to herbivores. ceratopsid dinosaurs. It first appeared in the latter part of the Maastrichtian phase during the Late Cretaceous period, about 68 million years ago, in what is today North America. It is among the few known non-avian dinosaur genera and was extincted in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinctions event, which occurred millennia ago. The name Triceratops meaning “three-horned face,” is derived from Greek word tri- (tri-) which means ‘three’, the word keras (keras) which means “horn”, as well as ops (ops) which means ‘face’..


LA-Triceratops mount-2Source: Allie_Caulfield Derivative: User:MathKnight, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


With a bony frill with three horns on the skull, as well as a huge four-legged body that shows an evolutionary convergence alongside rhinoceroses and bovines. Triceratops is among the most famous of dinosaurs, and is the most well-known ceratopsid. It was also the biggest, with up to 9 meters (29.5 feet) tall and 12 tonnes (13 small ton) of weight. It shared the same landscape and was probably hunted by Tyrannosaurus however it isn’t certain that two adults engaged in the way that is often depicted in museums and other popular photos. The purposes of the frills as well as the distinctive facial horns on the head of the animal have been a source of debate for a long time. In the past, they were thought of as weapons for defense against predators. Newer interpretations indicate it’s likely that these tools were employed in the identification of species or courtship as well as dominance displays, just like the horns and antlers found in modern ungulates.

Triceratops was initially classified as one of it’s category, the “short-frilled” ceratopsids, but new cladistic studies have shown it is a member of the Chasmosaurinae that typically feature long frills. There are two distinct species: T. horridus as well as T. prorsus can be considered to be valid today out of the 17 species that have been identified. A study published in 2010 found that contemporaneous Torosaurus ceratopsid, which was previously thought to be a separate Genus, is Triceratops in it’s mature state. This notion has been challenged and further research is required to resolve the issue.

Triceratops has been confirmed by many fossils discovered since the first time the genus was described in 1889 , by American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. Experiments that represent different stages of life from the hatchling stage up to adults have been identified. As the most iconic ceratopsid Triceratops is among the most popular dinosaurs and has been used in films, stamps for postal mail as well as other forms of media.

The first fossilized specimen currently attributed to Triceratops is the brow horns connected to a skull roof. It was discovered in the hands of George Lyman Cannon near Denver, Colorado, in the spring of 1887. This specimen was passed on to Marsh believing that the structure that it was derived from dates to the Pliocene and they belonged to an especially huge and unique bison, that was called Bison alticornis. He realized that there was dinosaurs with horns the following year, which led to his publishing of the species Ceratops with fragmentary remains but he was still convinced B. alticornis as an Pliocene mammal. It took a third significantly more complete skull to make him reconsider his beliefs.

The Triceratops Holotype (YPM 1820) was discovered during 1888, from the Lance Formation of Wyoming, USA by an fossil-hunter John Bell Hatcher, yet Marsh initially identified the specimen as an additional kind of Ceratops. The cowboy Edmund B. Wilson had been astonished by the appearance of a huge skull emerging from the edge of the ravine. He attempted to retrieve the skull by throwing a lasso over some of the horns. After it fell off with the skull falling into at the base of the cut Wilson took it to the boss as well as the rancher and enthusiast fossil hunter Charles Arthur Guernsey, who saw it and showed the horn to Hatcher. Marsh then instructed Hatcher to find and save the skull. The holotype was initially given the name Ceratops horridus. After further work, it was discovered that there was a third nose horn Marsh altered his opinion and awarded the holotype the name of generic Triceratops (lit. “three horn face”) in return for that his Bison alticornis as a different type of Ceratops. (It was later placed in the Triceratops.) The strength of the skull of the animal has resulted in a variety of specimens having kept as fossils which allows individual and species differences to be examined. Triceratops remains have been discovered within several of the American state that include Montana as well as South Dakota (and more in Colorado and Wyoming) and also as in the Canadian provinces Saskatchewan as well as Alberta.

A different specimen, discovered from the Lance Formation, was named Agathaumas sylvestris by Edward Drinker Cope in 1872. It was initially identified as a hadrosaur however, this specimen is made up of post-cranial remains. It is only considered as a provisional specimen of Triceratops.

Source: Wikipedia