The three-horned Triceratops is the most famous - and most gigantic - of all the horned dinosaurs. This iconic animal browsed for plants in North America during the Late Cretaceous, 65 million years ago.
Triceratops was the first horned dinosaur ever found, whichis why it is so famous. The first fossil of Triceratops was discovered in Colorado in 1887. It consistedof a pair of horns that, at first, were thought to belong to anextinct species of bison. More complete material was unearthed inWyoming and Montana in the late 1980s and they were recognized as anew type of dinosaur. Today, Triceratops is known from many fantastic skulls and nearlycomplete skeletons.
Triceratops is a horned dinosaur, more properly known as aceratopsian. The name Triceratops means 'three-horned face' in reference to itsthree horns. Triceratops' huge brow horns could reach up to 3.2 feet longin large adult individuals - the height of a human child. Thesepointed bones are cores that supported a horny sheath, so the hornsmay have been even longer in life. They may have been used asweapons to protect themselves against predators, or were possiblyused for fighting between rival males. The solid bony frill mayhave been colorful for display, and may have been used as a shieldto protect its neck.
Ceratopsians are sometimes referred to as the 'buffalo of theCretaceous' because they lived in large herds. The evidence forthis includes footprints of herds of dinosaurs all walking in thesame direction, and fossils of multiple ceratopsian skeletons havebeen found preserved together.
Many species of Triceratops have been named over the years, but today onlytwo species are considered valid: T. horridus and T. prorsus. Triceratops lived alongside the mighty T. rex in North America during the Late Cretaceous, 65million years ago. So, Triceratops probably kept a wary eye on the horizon at alltimes.