Triceratops Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Triceratops
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Triceratops



dinosaur picture triceratops

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Ornithischia
  Suborder Cerapoda
  (unranked) Marginocephalia
  Infraorder Ceratopsia
  Family Ceratopsidae
  Subfamily Ceratopsinae
  Genus Triceratops
Triceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 72 to 65 million years ago, Triceratops was one of the dinosaurs that died out in the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction 65 million years ago.

Triceratops was about 30 feet (9.1 meters) long, 10 feet (3 meters) tall, and weighed up to 11 tons. Its skull alone (including the neck frill) was over 6 feet (1.8 meters) long.

Hundreds of Triceratops fossils were first found in the late 19th century by famous American fossil-hunters, Othniel C. Marsh and Barnum Brown. Marsh chose the name Triceratops in 1889, and it means "three horned face". Because of the number of fossils found, and the fact that they are often found together, Triceratops is thought to have been a common dinosaur, that lived in herds.

The three horns on its face were probably used for protection. The neck frill, being solid bone, gave further protection. There were at least 15 different species of Triceratops, and some species had bony knobs set around the frill, which offered further protection still.

Many Triceratops skulls show damage to the horns or the frills. This has led some scientists to suggest that Triceratops may have had sparring contests by locking horns and pushing with the head shield, in a similar way to how male deer spar today. The use of the horns as a weapon, would probably have limited to use against real enemies such as Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Triceratops has been designated the official state dinosaur of Wyoming, since 1994.

German postage stamp showing Triceratops:
German postage stamp showing Triceratops


Triceratops Timeline:

Triceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 72 to 65 million years ago

Triceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 72 to 65 million years ago

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Triceratops Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Triceratops:
  1. Triceratops was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Triceratops" means "three horned face". This name was chosen by Othniel C. Marsh in 1889.

  3. Triceratops was a member of the Ornithischia ("bird-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Triceratops was not closely related to birds, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Triceratops was a Ceratopsian - a member of a group of related herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs with beaks, many of which had neck frills and horns as well.

  5. Triceratops lived between about 72 million years ago and 65 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.

  6. Triceratops was one of the dinosaurs which died out during the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction at the end of the Mesozoic Era.

  7. Triceratops lived in North America.

  8. Triceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater).

  9. Triceratops was about 30 feet (9.1 meters) long, and about 10 feet (3 meters) tall.

  10. Triceratops weighed about 11 tons.

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