Triceratops – famous horned dinosaur

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Did you know?

A Triceratops might have as many as 800 teeth at any one time!

 Vital statistics

Length:                                            8-9m long (slightly longer than today’s largest elephants)

Height:                                            3m at hip

Weight:                                           6-12 tonnes

Discovery:                                     named 1889

Distinguishing features:        giant size, neck frill, long brow horns, nasal horn

Chronotex Field Observations

Perhaps the most spectacular time of year at the TimeBase is when the Triceratops herds

arrive. Alongside Tyrannosaurus and Alamosaurus, these are the creatures visitors most look forward to seeing. The Triceratops nesting areas are far to the south, but remote study groups have been observed. Post-hatching parental care is normal, and they’re omnivorous to a degree, consuming small animals, carrion and eggs.

This animal’s famous horns are multi-functional and are used predominantly as flamboyant visual display structures for social and sexual purposes. Both sexes are of very similar form and body size, and they indulge in similar display and competitive combat behaviour during the breeding season. Damage sustained to their faces and frills is often the result of horns interlocking when in battle with one another. The frill of Triceratops is unusual compared to that of most other ceratopsians in that it’s solid, and covered in scaly skin. The scales here are arranged in a way that makes this structure especially visually striking.

When the herds start to move, they attract a lot of predators, especially Tyrannosaurus,

which prey on the weak or old.

Key facts

  • One of the last and largest of the ceratopsians, or horned dinosaurs
  • An elephant-sized herbivore equipped with a giant hooked beak, muscular cheeks and giant slicing tooth batteries
  • Famous for its three-horned face: a short horn on the nose and two much longer brow horns, and a giant, solid bony frill
  • Its face, horn and frill shape change considerably during growth

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