10 Facts About The Triceratops

Everyone knows the adorable Triceratops from movies, art, and documentaries. It’s one of the most popular dinosaurs, and it has appeared in many famous works. But, it isn’t just a dinosaur for trinkets and children’s books! The Triceratops is the official state dinosaur of South Dakota, and the triceratops skeleton is on display for everyone to see at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

But there are lesser-known facts about the Triceratops you might not have heard of.

10 Triceratops Facts

Fact 1) Triceratops means three-horned face. Its name comes from the Greek words tri meaning ‘three,’ kéras, meaning ‘horn,’ and óps, meaning ‘face.’ I bet you knew that, so here’s a better one.

Fact 2) Triceratops vs. Torosaurus 

Scientist thought that both dinos are closely related. Triceratops and Torosaurus are both ceratopsian dinosaurs, meaning ‘horned faces’. Both dinosaurs had three horns and a short frill with two large openings. The only difference between them was their size, with Torosaurus slightly bigger, but guess what? They’re most likely the same species! New studies suggest that Triceratops is a younger version of Torosaurus. 

That must have been frustrating for the person who named Torosaurus.

Fact 3) Triceratops is a herbivore and would eat plants, plants, and even more plants. Yummy! A diet like that helped it grow to nearly thirty feet long and six tons.
They were herd animals. How do we know? Fossil remains of several triceratopses at the same place have been discovered, suggesting these dinosaurs hung out together. That’s just another prove how social these animals were.

Fact 4) Triceratops could reach a size of more than 9 meters (30 ft) in length and a bodyweight of 12 tons. For comparison, that’s as much as 2 African elephants, the heaviest living land animals. It’s hard to believe they reached such weight with a plant-based diet, but they likely spent 80% of the day eating, just like elephants.

Fact 5)They lived 68–66 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous era, in what’s now known as North America. Guess who lived during the same time, at the same place? The famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. Even though museums often display both in a fight, it was never proven that Tyrannosaurus Rex would prey on Triceratops. 

Fact 6) Even though T Rex was a superior predator, the chances are that he would prefer smaller prey since a triceratops was quite big and had sharp horns. It wasn’t an easy target unless it was old and weak. Another point is that T Rex might have been a scavenger and preferred carrion.

Fact 7) Triceratops most likely had a lifespan of 40 years, maybe even longer. Paleontologists believe this after comparing Triceratops to other huge herbivores, like rhinos or elephants. These animals grow old because it takes time to get this big.

Fact 8) Triceratops had many relatives. It is classified as a member of the Ceratopsidae family and dinosaurs like Ceratopsoidea, Nedoceratops, Leptoceratops, and other dinosaurs with horns and a frill.

Fact 9) Triceratops had no feathers. Many dinosaurs like velociraptors are often depicted without feathers, even if modern research shows they had some. Most of them were bird-like dinosaurs. Triceratops, however, had no feathers.

Fact 10) It’s the official state fossil of South Dakota and the state dinosaur of Wyoming.

Facts About The Triceratops In a Nutshell

The name Triceratops means three-horned face. It was a herbivore dinosaur and could grow up to 9 meters (30 feet) long. It was very social and lived during the late cretaceous, 66-68 million years ago. Triceratops had an average lifespan of 40 years, like elephants, and no feathers, like raptors. There’s still a debate going on, but Torosaurus and Triceratops are most likely the same species, just that the found Triceratops fossil was from a younger dinosaur – a younger variation of Torosaurus. Triceratops belongs to the ceratopsids. A family of dinosaurs looking like triceratops, with horns and neck frill.

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