Triceratops Facts

Triceratops Facts
Triceratops belongs to a group of horned dinosaurs better known as ceratopsians. There were two species of Triceratops that lived in North America 67 to 65 million years ago (late Cretaceous period). First fossil of Triceratops (horns attached to a partial skull) was found in Colorado in 1887. It was initially erroneously described as a species of bison, before it became apparent that it was a new species of dinosaur. Triceratops lived in marshes and forests. Thanks to numerous fossils and unusual morphology of Triceratops, this is one of the most popular and best-known type of dinosaur.
Interesting Triceratops Facts:
Triceratops was 26 feet long and it had 6 to 12 tons of weight.
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).
Triceratops didn't have smooth skin. Area around tail was covered with bristle-like structures.
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.
Triceratops had walked using all four legs (quadrupedal animal).
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).
Name "Triceratops" means "three-horned face".
Triceratops had two large horns above the eyes and third, much shorter horn on the snout made of soft protein called keratin.
Pair of horns above the eyes were more than 3 feet long. They were used for protection against the predators, such as Tyrannosaurus rex.
Triceratops was a herbivore. Its diet was based on ferns, cycads and various types of palm trees.
Triceratops had bird-like beak which was used for chopping of tough vegetation.
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.
Triceratops may have lived solitary life or it traveled and lived in small family groups.
Triceratops is an official state fossil of South Dakota and state dinosaur of Wyoming.
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".


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