Dino Day #3

Triceratops (image: dinowiki)

Triceratops (image: dinowiki)

It seems fitting for the third Dino Day to be the Triceratops given that the name means three-horned face. Easily one of the most identifiable families of dinosaurs, their horns are unmistakable. First discovered in 1888 in Denver, this North American herbivore was likely a favorite meal for the T Rex. The most complete fossil to date is really recent, 2013, and hails from Wyoming.

Due to the Wyoming find, scientists are assuming that Triceratops remained in family units, at least for a time as the fossils appear to be a mated pair with a juvenile. Triceratops was very large (but only classified as a medium dinosaur) with a length of roughly 30 feet and a weight between 11,000 and 25,000 pounds. Their feet were multi-hoofed with three hooves on their front feet and four hooves on their back feet. The head of a Triceratops was as much of 1/3rd it’s entire body length. Their brow horns grew to about 3 feet in length. They likely were charging animals like the rhinoceros.

There is evidence that a Triceratops survived an attack by a Tyrannosaurus Rex as their was substantial remodeling of the bone.  Other fossils show T Rex tooth marks and other signs of predation so they were possibly a staple of the King’s diet.

I liked the Triceratops as a kid in part because the one I knew the best shared my name (at least in pronunciation).


BP Richfield

BP Richfield

Famous Triceratops:

Cera from Land Before Time

BP Richfield from Dinosaurs (the tv show) Even if they did give him too many horns and not enough frill.

Slag the Dinobot Transformer

Also in The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Night at the Museum, the Jurassic Park franchise of films, and Barney.




All in the family:  There is a legend in Africa about the Ngoubou which is said to be a living specimen of a ceratopsia, which is the same family of dinosaurs that the Triceratops belongs to.

Random Dinosaur Information:

For a very long time, it was posited that dinosaurs were all cold-blooded like modern reptiles. There is now some discension among the ranks of palentologists because of their growth pattern, their size, and their physiology. The debate will rage on for some time to come and we may never know for absolutely certain but, yay science!


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