Triceratops is the largest of the Ceratopsidae, which are four legged dinosaurs with horns growing out of huge heads. Triceratops is probably the best known of the ceratopsidaes.
The name triceratops means three-horned face, which is quite appropriate name. They had three horns, two out of the forehead and one on top of the nose like a rhino. The horns on the forehead could reach up to six feet long. They lived during the late cretaceous period about sixty eight to sixty five million years ago, making them one of the last dinosaurs to go extinct. They were very large dinosaur at thirty feet long and up to six tons, making them about the size of a school bus. They lived in the North West U.S.A. and south west Canada. Most remains are found in Wyoming Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.
Triceratops was first discovered in 1889 by Othniel C. Marsh, who has discovered hundreds of dinosaur species. Most are scarred, most likely from fighting with other triceratops or defending itself from predators, like T-Rex. Finding triceratops skulls are common because they are thicker and they are more likely to survive fossilization.
There have been many debates about what horns and frill was used for. The old thought was that they were used for defense but that was proven not to be true when people kept finding pieces of frill in T-Rex bellies, because they were too thin and T-Rex could just bite through it. They are most likely for showing off to other triceratops for dominance, territory, or getting a mate. Although the horns could have been used to fend off an attacker they were probably used as a last resort because they were not designed for it.
Triceratops has also been in quite a few movies. It had a small part, about five minutes, in the movie Jurassic Park. It was also in the extended version of the new King Kong. Triceratops has also been in countless documentaries.
As one of the most popular dinosaurs, triceratops will fascinate people for a very long time with its giant size and massive skull, with three horns a big frill. It will be a favorite for a long time.
Paul Barrett, National Geographic Dinosaurs, Washington D.C.: Firecrest Books LTD, 1999
Paul Dowswell, John Malam, Paul Mason, Steve Parker, The Ultimate Book of Dinosaurs, Fressingfield: Monkey Puzzle Media LTD, 2000