85 Shocking Facts About Triceratops

Facts About Triceratops: Triceratops was a genus of dinosaurs. They originated 68 million years ago and went extinct along with all other dinosaurs in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event 66 million years ago. In Greek, 'triceratops' means 'three-horned mouth'. They were similar to modern rhinoceroses due to their shape and horned head, although the two were not genetically closely related.

85 Shocking Facts About Triceratops

Shocking Facts About Triceratops

  • The Triceratops lived in North America.
  • The name "Triceratops" means "three-horned face".
  • The name Triceratops means: “Three-horned Face”.
  • The Triceratops is the state dinosaur of Wyoming.
  • The Triceratops had a bird-like beak on its mouth.
  • The Triceratops is the state fossil of South Dakota.
  • The holotype specimen for the Triceratops is YPM 1820.
  • The name Triceratops is pronounced: “try-SAIR-uh-tops”.
  • The Triceratops was a plant eating (herbivore) dinosaur.
  • Triceratops was 26 feet long and it had 6 to 12 tons of weight.
  • The Triceratops was a herbivore who ate foliage near the ground.
  • Triceratops had walked using all four legs (quadrupedal animal).
  • Estimates put the length of a Triceratops between 25 and 30 feet.
  • Estimates put the weight of a Triceratops between 6.5 and 13 tons.
  • Estimates put the top running speed of a Triceratops up to 20 mph.
  • The skull of a Triceratops alone could grow over 2m (7ft) in length.
  • The US state of Wyoming lists the Triceratops as its state dinosaur.
  • The Triceratops was part of a group of dinosaurs known as ceratopsids.
  • They lived during the Late Cretaceous period about 68 million years ago.

Interesting Facts About Triceratops

  • Triceratops had bird-like beak which was used for chopping of tough vegetation.
  • Triceratops is an official state fossil of South Dakota and state dinosaur of Wyoming.
  • Triceratops may have lived solitary life or it traveled and lived in small family groups.
  • The US state of Wyoming has listed the Triceratops as its state dinosaur since June 1994.
  • The Triceratops was discovered in 1887, by George Lyman Cannon near Denver, Colorado, USA.
  • Triceratops didn't have smooth skin. Area around tail was covered with bristle-like structures.
  • Triceratops was a herbivore. Its diet was based on ferns, cycads and various types of palm trees.
  • The Triceratops was able to fight off predators with its three horns and the bony frill on its head.
  • The name ‘Triceratops’ comes from the Greek language, with ‘tri’ meaning three and ‘keratops’ meaning horned face.
  • In the Boston Museum of Science one of the most famous triceratops specimens, ‘Cliff the Triceratops’, can be seen.
  • The Triceratops is one of the most easily recognizable dinosaurs due to its large body, unique frill and three horns.
  • One of the most well-known dinosaurs, the triceratops was a herbivorous titan that was very well equipped for a fight.
  • It needed its three horns to try and protect itself from the Tyrannosaurus Rex which lived during the same time period.
  • Triceratops fossils have been found in the Denver, Evanston, Hell Creek, Lance, Laramie and Scollard geological formations.
  • Triceratops had two large horns above the eyes and third, much shorter horn on the snout made of soft protein called keratin.

Unbelievable Facts About Triceratops

  • The first known fossils to be that of a Triceratops were horns attached to a partial skull, found near Denver, Colorado in 1887.
  • Pair of horns above the eyes were more than 3 feet long. They were used for protection against the predators, such as Tyrannosaurus rex.
  • It is believed that fully grown Triceratops were about 8m (26ft) in length, 3m (10ft) in height and weighed anywhere between 6 to 12 tons.
  • Triceratops’s were slow-moving reptiles and were quadrupedal with shorter three-hooved forelimbs and comparatively longer four-hooved hind legs.
  • Triceratops were large, rhinoceros-like animals that weighed many tons – a fully grown adult would be expected to weigh in the region of seven tons.
  • Triceratops was represented in the popular Transformers toy line and animated series as Slag, an Autobot that could transform into a Triceratops form.
  • A famous mural painted by Charles Knight in 1942, at Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago depicts a fight between a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus.
  • Scientists have found Triceratops fossils in places such as Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana which gives us an idea of Triceratops hangouts!
  • Similar to the way sharks can replace lost or broken teeth, Triceratops had 800 teeth at its disposal which allowed it to replace old worn teeth with sharp new ones!
  • Triceratops had huge head that was roughly 1/3 of the body length. Its skull was very long (up to 8.2 feet in length) and extremely heavy (more than 3 tons of weight).
  • Known to be the last and largest of the horned dinosaurs, the name ‘Triceratops’ comes from the Greek language with ‘tri’ meaning three and ‘keratops’ meaning horned face.
  • In terms of anatomy, the triceratops genus is incredibly interesting, not least because many of its parts’ functions are still debated today in the field of palaeontology.

Scientific Facts About Triceratops

  • Did you know the largest known triceratops skull fossil is 2.5m (8 feet), and has three distinct horns, a bony frill that covers its neck completely and a sharp, pointed beak?
  • It was also believed that Triceratops had graveyards, termed “bone beds” where they gathered to die, similar to elephants; however, both of these beliefs have been challenged.
  • Triceratops had anywhere between 400 and 800 teeth, although only a small percentage of these were in use at any one time as they were constantly replaced throughout its lifetime.
  • These traits, combined, made both species of triceratops a fearsome foe to potential predators, capable of puncturing flesh and shattering bone with their sharp horns when charging.
  • The T.Rex feeding on Triceratops was proven by a team led by Karen Chin, where they discovered a T. Rex coprolite (fossilised faeces) containing bones of the frill of a Triceratops in Canada!
  • They were heavily armoured with reinforced bone horns, which could exceed 70 centimetres (28 inches) and a solid bone frill, and hugely powerful thanks to their sturdy frame.Triceratops Facts
  • Triceratops had 400 to 800 teeth arranged in groups (batteries) of 36 to 40 tooth columns in each jaw. Each column was made of 3 to 5 teeth. Worn-out teeth were regularly replaced with new set of teeth.
  • It is evident that they chewed on sharp and thorny plants like cycad, which are stout plants characterised by a hard-wood trunk and stiff palm-like leaves, based on the marks found on their beaks, jawline, and teeth.
  • A good example of this can be seen by analysing a typical triceratops skull, which -aside from typically measuring a whopping two metres (6.6 feet) in length – sported three horns as well as a fluted, extravagant rear frill.
  • Roughly the size of an elephant, Triceratops’s were squat and powerfully built. They had a short but powerful tail and walked on four thick legs weighing up to 11,000 kg (24,250 pounds) and could reach up to 9m (30 feet) in length and 3m (10 feet) in height.

Historical Facts About Triceratops

  • Around 65 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period, Triceratops lived and inhabited the marshes and forests of North America. They lived up to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs. Quite the survivors now, aren’t they?
  • Triceratops is featured in numerous video games. Its unusual morphology served as an inspiration for manufacture of various toys (including Transformers toy line). Triceratops can be also seen in the popular movie "Jurassic Park" and documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs".
  • It was once believed that Triceratops tromped through North American land in herds comparable to elephants. Triceratops may have also been solitary animals as most fossils found have been of solitary individuals. It is speculated that they may have well continued to exist in herds.
  • So how was the Triceratops discovered? It is said that in 1887,  near Denver, Colorado, John Bell Hatcher discovered the first ever remains of a Triceratops! He found a pair of horns that were attached to a skull roof which is where these three-horned dinosaurs get their names from.
  • Triceratops is a genus of herbivorous dinosaur that comprises two validated species – triceratops horridus and triceratops prorsus, both of which roamed Earth during the Late Cretaceous period (68-65 Ma) before being eradicated in the K-T mass-extinction event that wiped out all dinosaurs.
  • The most prominent features on the body of Triceratops were three horns on the face and huge backward-oriented bony frill around the neck. Triceratops had large, sturdy body and strong limbs (front legs were shorter than hind legs). It had three hooves on the front feet, and four hooves on the hind feet.
  • Bony frill of Triceratops probably had several functions. It may have been used to alert other members of the group about upcoming danger or to announce readiness to mate. It was also probably used for fight with other Triceratops, thermoregulation and for display (based on the numerous frill holes in adult animals).
  • Palaeontologists have suggested that a Triceratops has a lifespan similar to that of mammals today. Information on lifespan and age at death is obtained through skeletal remains and unfortunately for palaeontologists, the remains of Triceratops are not plentiful enough to obtain a reasonable sample for dating an average lifespan.
  • A Triceratops’ face was dominated by three horns and a huge frill which grew out from the back of its skull and covered its neck! Its mouth was beak-shaped and was best suited for grasping or plucking vegetation rather than for biting. It most likely used its horns and strength to tip over taller and larger plants to acquire food.
  • Triceratops were herbivores, eating mostly shrubs and other plant life such as ferns, cycads, and palms with up to 800 teeth that were constantly being replenished and arranged in groups called batteries. The Evolution study notes show each battery had 36 to 40 tooth columns in each side of each jaw and three to five teeth per column.
  • The triceratops’ main potential predators were carnivorous theropod dinosaurs such as the tyrannosaurus rex. However, while modern-day depictions of these two prehistoric titans are often far-fetched, triceratops specimens have been discovered with T-rex bite marks and even one where the herbivore had had one of its brow horns snapped off entirely.
  • Triceratops Horridus and Triceratops Prorsus are currently two species of recognised Triceratops. Another genus, Torosaurus (‘perforated lizard’) which had fenestrae (holes) in its frill, may have actually been a mature form of Triceratops. It has also been suggested that another genus, Nedoceratops (‘insufficient horned face’) may have been a transitional stage between the two.
  • Triceratops’ largest predators were the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Ah, we have our answer now! It used its skull to defend itself by goring the skin of predators and would generally stand its ground to face predators rather than run headlong into battle. Scientist believed that Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex were involved in many long-standing battles against each other. We wonder which was the last dino standing!
  • Triceratops vs T-rexThe fundamental diet of the triceratops was largely dictated by- and most likely co-evolved with – its low-slung posture and head position, which was located close to the ground. As a consequence of these factors, as well as its deep and narrow beak and sharp teeth batteries, both species of triceratops most likely consumed large amounts of low-growth ferns, palms and cycads, plucking the plants with their beaks and then shredding the fibrous material with their teeth.
  • Other anatomical areas of interest lie in this dinosaur’s large bird-like beak and hips. Indeed, it is because of these particular features that this genus has been used as a reference point in the definition of all dinosaurs – ie all dinosaurs are descendants of the most recent common ancestor of triceratops and, as such, this common ancestor is also that of birds prevalent throughout the world today. It’s important to note here that modern birds did not descend from triceratops directly, but rather from its common ancestor with all other dinosaurs; today’s birds in fact originate from saurischian dinosaurs.
  • TriceratopsThe horns, from which the genus gets its name, and frill have been successfully argued by palaeontologists to have been used for self-defence against predators, with close examination of unearthed specimens revealing battle scars, cuts, punctures and cracks. However, modern scholars also postulate that both skull features, along with the elongated nature of the skull itself, most likely also evolved as courtship aids, with potential mates selected on the size and shape of these features. It has also been suggested that the frill may have helped triceratops regulate their body temperature in a similar manner to the plate-laden stegosaurus (whose name translates as roof, or covered, lizard).

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