Triceratops, or Tyceratops, was a herbivorous chasmosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. It’s most famous for its large head with three horns.
Triceratops also had a giant frill, a backward-pointing flap of skin over its bones that served a dual purpose—notifying other members of the herd and warning predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex. This frill was surrounded by many blood vessels that flushed pink when it was in use.
Most Striking & Recognizable Features of Triceratops
One of the most striking and recognizable features of Tyceratops is its three large horns, which were used for defense and intimidation. They were also a good way for them to attract mates and signal their status in the herd.
However, new research suggests that the horns and frill may have had other purposes as well. A new study published in a Royal Society journal suggests that these traits evolved for socio-sexual selection.
Sexual selection means that males who were more attractive to females during mating season passed this trait on to their offspring. It’s a similar idea to that of other animals that use display structures such as bright colours and elaborate tail fans to attract mates.
In addition, Tyceratops horns changed shape during their lifetime, which allowed juveniles to distinguish themselves from older, more mature specimens. The horns would start out as little stubs that curved backward, then straighten and lengthen as the dinosaur aged.
A frill was a protective shield that extended from the back of a dinosaur’s neck. Tyceratops and other horned dinosaurs like it had them to protect themselves from predators, and sometimes they were used as a way for the animals to show off their power and intimidate rivals.
A recent study of a fossilize Triceratops name Big John suggests that the holes found in its frill are actually marks left by other dinosaurs. These marks, call fenestrae, are thought to have happen during fights with other Triceratops.
Torosaurus, a large horn dinosaur that lived alongside Triceratops in the Hell Creek Formation of Montana, is known for its larger and thinner cranial frill. A comparison of the frills of the two dinosaurs revealed that the horns and frills in both genera evolved at different times. The horns and frills in Triceratops grew as the animal aged, while those in Torosaurus grew thinner and fewer in number.
One of the best ways to get an idea of what a dinosaur was like is to look at its teeth. Teeth can tell a lot about how the dinosaur ate, what it looked like and its habitat.
Variety of Plants
Triceratops were herbivores that ate a variety of plants. They had a beak-like mouth that was suited for grasping and pulling instead of biting.
Their teeth were arrange in a tight structure call a dental battery with rows and columns of teeth that were constantly being replace as they were worn down from grinding plant material.
Researchers recently discovered that triceratops teeth were more complex than those found in reptiles or mammals today. This allowed the triceratops to wear them into a chewing shape by pressing them together.
Triceratops was a large, herbivorous dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period. The horns on its head were intimidating and helped to deter predators.
Triceratops weighed between 6 and 12 tons, a huge amount of weight for a herbivore. They had strong legs that helped them walk long distances through the thick underbrush.
The horns on its head were probably used for species identification, courtship and dominance display. They may also have been used as a defensive weapon against predators.
It is important to note that Triceratops was not the only dinosaur with horns on its head. Other ceratopsids, including stegosaurus, had horns on their heads too.