Learn dinosaur facts about Triceratops, the huge herbivorous dinosaur that lived at the end of the Cretaceous period.
Learn dinosaur facts: Triceratops Facts & Info
The Triceratops, from the Ceratopsid family, is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. With its three horns, shield-like head plate, and massive body this dinosaur was for sure a very impressive and intimidating sight. The name Triceratops, which literally means “three-horned-face”, is derived from a combination of three different Greek words.
Triceratops roamed the fields and forests of what is now called North America about 67 to 65 million years ago, during the end of the Cretaceous period. The Triceratops could reach a length of 26-30 feet and a height of 8-9 feet, so it was quite a lot bigger than a human being. It could weigh up to 12 tonnes. In size, it was quite similar to an African elephant.
This fearsome and massive looking creature was actually a plant-eating dinosaur, a so called Herbivore. It probably spent most of its time grazing plant matters chewing away on leaves and grass like a modern day rhino.
The massive skull of the Triceratops was its most imposing feature and could make up for almost one third of its body. The largest skull found has an estimated length of 8.2 feet. Triceratops had three horns, a smaller one on its snout and two large ones above its eyes. The two brow horns twisted and lengthened as the dinosaur aged.
In addition to its obvious protective feature, the huge head plate may also have acted as a radiator, helping Triceratops regulate its body temperature.
It is probable that the Triceratops used its horn and head plate to fight with their own species – in mating rituals for example – but also to defend themselves when being attacked by carnivorous predators such as… the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Several Triceratops fossils have shown bite and chew marks that match the teeth of the T Rex.
When the first Triceratops horns were found in 1887 they were first mistaken to come from a giant bison. It wasn’t until more bones were found it was identified as a new dinosaur and given the name Triceratops.
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