The Triceratops is one of the most well-known dinosaur species out there and has been a part of the study of dinosaurs for several years since it was first discovered in 1887. These dinosaurs are known for their heavy body and large frill that served the purpose of defense against larger predators and as a mode to attract potential mates by males.
The Triceratops is easily recognized because of its large neck frill and its heavy head that in some cases, was almost one-third of the size of its entire body. As of now, there are two valid species of Triceratops in the form of the Triceratops horridus and the Triceratops prorsus. They were distinguished from each other using the longer beak and smaller nose horn that the prorsus lacked.
As of now, the most commonly recovered dinosaur fossil is that of the Triceratops as many parts of the body of this dinosaur are abundant in the form of skulls, frills, and horns.
If you like these facts about the Triceratops, be sure to check out facts about the Cerasinops and the Chaoyangsaurus too!
These large horned dinosaurs were given the name Triceratops which is pronounced tri-SERa-tops. Upon further investigation of Triceratops fossil evidence these dinosaurs are now listed under two species, the Triceratops horridus and the Triceratops prorsus.
Triceratops are assumed to be among the largest terrestrial animal as evidence suggests based on the study of Triceratops fossils. These dinosaurs with a three-horned face are put under the Theropod class of dinosaur species.
Based on studies and evidence of partially healed bite marks on Triceratops skeleton samples, it is assumed that the Triceratops dinosaur co-existed with dinosaur species like the Tyrannosaurus rex and other larger carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaurs. The Triceratops lived in the late Cretaceous period around 66-68 million years ago.
The Triceratops became extinct 66 million years ago. This horned dinosaur species living in modern-day North America was believed to be the last Ceratopsid animal to go through an evolution before the cataclysmic extinction event that occurred 66 million years ago.
Through the various studies based on Triceratops skulls, horns and bone remains, it is estimated that this Ceratopsid species of dinosaurs lived in the marsh and forest regions of modern-day western North America. Bone, teeth, and skull remains have also been found through the natural history of this dinosaur's discovery that point to the Triceratops roaming through what is now North and South Dakota. In Montana, a Triceratops skull has also been found in the Hell Creek formation which confirms the fact that the Triceratops dinosaur roamed the North American continent 68-66 million years ago.
The Triceratops' habitat was severely different from modern-day habitat formations so it is difficult to pinpoint a specific habitat range. However, it can be assumed that this horned dinosaur species possibly inhabited forest areas, marsh ranges, and plains with dense vegetation since they were a herbivorous dinosaur species.
Based on research found from skeletal remains of the Triceratops in the Hell Creek formation and other archaeological sites, it is assumed that these Triceratops dinosaurs were a social species. According to findings in Montana, it is assumed that not only were these dinosaurs social, but juvenile Triceratops lived together during their growth stage.
According to bite marks found on the frill and the Triceratops skull, it is estimated that the Triceratops co-existed with the much larger Tyrannosaurus rex and another large dinosaur in the form of the Torosaurus. The Triceratops was distinguished from the Torosaurus by the larger and thinner cranial frill that the Torosaurus lacked.
Due to a lack of specific data, the lifespan of the Triceratops is currently unknown. The study on the natural history of this dinosaur is still ongoing and facts about its lifespan might hopefully become available in the future.
Unfortunately, there is not enough data about the reproduction process of the Triceratops horridus so facts like their sexual maturity age, gestation period, and egg clutch size cannot be clearly stated. It is, however, assumed that horns and frills played a part in the mating ritual as they were used to attract potential mates.
The Triceratops bore a large, bony frill and three horns on the skull. This dinosaur had a large body that is similar to the modern-day rhinoceros. The horns and frill were important parts of the Triceratops as they served the purpose of defense from larger predators and in some ways, the large frill helped them in maintaining body temperature. Skulls of the Triceratops are assumed to be the largest among all land animals and in some cases, these skulls were estimated to be the size of almost one-third of the animal. The face of the animal bore a horn on the snout and a pair of horns above each eye. The skull was short and had a bony frill on it. These frills were noticeable solid compared to other parts of the body.
This dinosaur was sturdy and had strong limbs that supported the weight of the heavy body. The front limbs are estimated to be stronger than the back limbs as they had to support the weight of the body and the head which is one of the heaviest parts of this dinosaur.
As per recorded evidence, Triceratops teeth, horn, frill, and skull fragments are abundant so the Triceratops position as the most dominant herbivore has been etched in the natural history of dinosaur-related studies.
The exact number of bones present in the body of the Triceratops has not been confirmed as of yet. The frill, teeth, skull, horns, and other small skeletal remains are the basis of the research on this dinosaur.
The communication method of the Triceratops is unknown. It is assumed that this dinosaur, like most other dinosaur species, communicated through vocal and visual methods.
The Triceratops size was considered to fall under the big dinosaur scale as these creatures reached a total body length of 354 in (9 m) and stood 118 m (3 m) tall.
Due to a lack of sufficient data, the movement speed of the Triceratops is currently unknown.
Triceratops were heavy creatures and are assumed to have weighed around 12,125.4 lb (5,500 kg). The largest adult was thought to weigh between 12,015.1-16,005.5 lb (5,450-7,260 kg).
No particular name has been assigned to either sex of this dinosaur species.
Triceratops babies have no specific name and are known as babies or juvenile Triceratops.
Triceratops are considered to be herbivorous in nature and their diet consisted of plants and trees.
Based on the results of various research, it is assumed that the Triceratops was a docile creature and was not aggressive. However, the three horns on the face were used to fight off predators or competitors.
It is assumed that over their lifespan, Triceratops could have grown over 800 teeth!
Research has led to the belief that the Triceratops had two skin tones: brown and beige.
The two brow horns on the head of the Triceratops are believed to have grown as the creature aged.
The Triceratops meaning was taken from their three horns and the frill at the back of their heavy head. The name is derived from the Greek syllables 'tri' and 'keras' and 'ops' which mean 'three' 'horn' and 'face' respectively, hinting at the three-horned face of the dinosaur.
According to research done on skeletal remains of the Triceratops, it is assumed that the two horns on the head of the dinosaur were made of bones and the third horn was made up of keratin. The human fingernail is also made up of keratin.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures by reading our Pachyrhinosaurus facts or our Diceratops facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable family of four dinosaurs coloring pages.