The Triceratops is one of the most fascinating and beautiful dinosaurs ever to exist. It grazed the lands and dominated territories of its own. When threatened, it charged like a rhinoceros. The three horned face dinosaur is a native of North America with fossils found in the far west of Canada and the United States. Discover the many facts about the Triceratops as you venture through this article.
1. Three-Horned Face
Triceratops, literally means “three-horned face”; it is derived from the Greek syllables, tri- (three), kéras(horn) and ops (face). The three horned face is in reference to the two horns appear above its eyes and one above its nose.
The name, Triceratops was coined by renowned American paleontologist Othneil Charles Marsh (b. 1831, d. 1899) in 1889. Marsh’s ruthlessness and competitive nature in the field of science and archeology, with his arch nemesis Edward Drinker Cope (b. 1840, d. 1897), helped advanced the study of dinosaurs and prehistoric animals.
Many of todays well known dinosaurs were named after Marsh such as Hoplitosaurus marshi (Lucas, 1901), Othnielia (Galton, 1977), and Othnielosaurus (Galton, 2007).
2. First discovery of Triceratops
The first known discovery of the triceratops was in 1887. When its fossil was discovered, it was believed to be of an ancient bison! The first skull discovery of the Triceratops was in 1888 in Wyoming by John Bell Hatcher (b. 1861, d. 1904), an assistant to Marsh at Yale up until 1893.
Despite his discovery, Hatcher was denied the opportunity to name the dinosaur. The skull today is displayed with the body at the Smithsonian, where they named it Hatcher.
3. The T-Rex loved to prey
The monstrous Tyrannosaurus preyed on the Triceratops as one of its daily meals. A fossil was discovered in 1997 with bites on the horn that matched of the T-Rex. A popular notion in media and science is the rivalry of the both animals. In 1941, Charles R. Knight painted a mural of the T-Rex and Triceratops squaring off against each other at the Museum of Natural History.
4. They lived in millions of years ago
The Triceratops lived in North America during the late Maastrichtian stage of Crectaceous period, approximately 65 to 68 million years ago. With the remaining dinosaurs of the period, the Triceratops disappeared because of a big asteroid or meteorite collision on the surface of the earth at the Gulf of Mexico, causing huge tectonic shift and a disturbing climate change. This led to scarcity of food and diseases which caused many dinosaurs and animals to not survive. However, many scientists and palaeontologists do differ on the theory of dinosaur extinction.
5. Fossils discovered in North America
Bones and fossils have been discovered in parts of Western Canada like Alberta and Saskatchewan, and States in the USA from Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.
6. They might have been short but they were huge
Fossil signs prove they were about 10 feet (three meters) tall and around 30 feet (nine meters) long. They weighed over 11,000 lbs (5000 kg); some weighed close to 15,000 lbs (6800 kg)! Their skull is said to be amongst the biggest of the dinosaurs at 2.8 meter (8 feet) long.
7. Triceratops were restrictively herbivores
Due to the short height, it is suggested that they were restricted to only eating plants; they are widely regarded as herbivores.
8. Horns made of keratin
The horns of the Triceratops are made up of keratin indicating they were strong and powerful. With their power and might of their horns, they could knock down the taller trees.
9. Dominating territories and attracting mates
Wounds on the face and horns leads archeologist believe Triceratops fought over territories and potential mates.
10. They hatch out of eggs
As babies they hatch out of eggs which are approximately the size of cantaloupes.
11. Official State Dinosaur of Wyoming
In 1994 the Triceratops became the Official State Dinosaur of Wyoming. There are currently only eight official state dinosaurs.
12. A Herding Animal
The Triceratops typically stayed together in a pack, possibly to withstand threats from carnivorous dinosaurs. This is evidenced by the grouping of the bones that were found together in sights of fossil discovery.
13. They will charge at you if they need to
Like the rhinoceros, they will charge at their predators to avoid being harmed in any way and to protect their herds.
14. A Dino of many teeth
In their lifetime, they could grow between 400 to 800 teeth. These teeth were constantly broken down and replaced throughout their life.
15. Heavy but slow
Despite being known for their huge size and weighing over a ton, they were very slow because of their very short and stout legs. No wonder they were a desirable feast for the bigger and faster animals!
16. A fossil auctioned for over a million
In 2015, a 65-million year old Triceratops fossil that was found in Glendive, Montana was auctioned at a starting price of $1.8 million in Hong Kong. If you think that is a lot, the fossil of the largest T-Rex ever found, “Sue”, is currently being auctioned for $12.5 million. Dinosaur fossils are one great investment opportunity!
Learn more about dinosaurs
The world of dinosaur is a terrific insight to the world we once lived in. It offers appreciation in the evolution of mankind and its species. The Triceratops is regarded as one of the most popular dinosaurs to ever roam the Western Earth. We hope you enjoyed our research on facts about Triceratops.