Triceratops

triceratops at Wingham Wildlife Park

Distribution:

Triceratops roamed the island continent of Laramidia. During their lifetime North America was divided into two parts. The land to the east was called Appalachia and to the west was Laramidia.

Time Period:

They lived during the Upper Cretaceous Period, 68-66 million years ago. This was the third and final period of the Mesozoic Era. Until this Era today’s continents formed one super continent called Pangaea which was surrounded by a huge ocean. Although it had started to break apart during the previous periods, the Cretaceous period saw it separate across the planet’s surface. The change caused the climate to cool and the continents and oceans we know today first started to take form. Many dinosaurs adapted to these changes well. However, the period ended in the mass extinction of all dinosaurs after an asteroid hit the planet.

Size:

These dinosaurs were 9 meters long and stood 3 meters tall, weighing 12 metric tons.

Diet:

They were herbivores which cropped plants low to the ground.

Interesting Facts:

The most noticeable and famous feature of Triceratops is its horns which could reach 1 meter in length. Their name means ‘three horn face’ for the three protruding horns on its head which make this one of the most recognisable dinosaurs. These horns may have been used in defence against predators such as Tyrannosaurus-Rex. Many of their fossilised frills have puncture marks from other triceratops which shows that they fought amongst their own species, possibly over breeding rights. The bony frill around the back of its large head is thought to have provided protection for their necks against predators. This frill may have also been used to attract a mate. Most similar species of dinosaur lived in herds for protection. However, evidence suggests that Triceratops didn’t, most of their remains have been found on their own which suggests that they lived alone too.

They mostly ate shrubs and their beak-like mouth was ideal for stripping leaves from plants. They also had around 800 teeth, which were regularly ground down from chewing but they could replace themselves.