The moment you look at a photograph of a Triceratops in a book, you will be able to recognize it because of its distinctive horns and frill. But there are so many things about this dinosaur you may not know. So, let’s read about this dinosaur and find out why it is so popular and learn about the fun triceratops facts for kids that we have dug up.
Photo credit: Michael under CC license 2.0
What a Misleading Name!
In Greek, Triceratops means three-horned face. When you look at an image of Triceratops, you may think that the name is perfect because it has three horns. Actually, it is not. This dinosaur has just two horns that are real, while the third short horn on the snout is not a real horn. The third short horn is actually made from protein not bone like the two large ones.
Earlier it was believed that triceratops had horns as a way to protect themselves from turning into raptor and T. Rex lunch. However, it now turns out that most probably, the three distinctive horns and frill that these dinosaurs had were features to aid in attracting a mate. In other words, if a male Triceratops had bigger horns, it had a better chance of finding females to mate with and produce a baby Triceratops. This said, modern-day paleontologists are not totally sure what these dinosaurs used their horns for. After all they do only have fossils to work with.
T. Rex’s Favorite Meal
When dinosaurs lived on earth 65 million years ago, the infamous T. Rex and the Triceratops used to live in the same habitat. This habitat was located in the western part of North America and consisted of forests and marshes. And, the T. Rex used to love munching on Triceratops. The triceratops gave as good as it got though, evidence of T. Rex tooth marks have been found on Triceratops horns. The good news is that scientists can tell that the Triceratops healed, so it definitely won that round.
Grandma, Why Do You Have Such a Huge Head?
The fossils of Triceratops show that this dinosaur had a gigantic skull, which, according to paleontologists, could reach a length of more than seven feet. And, the skulls of these dinosaurs have a distinct frill that points backward. What this large frill was used for is still not known, some say it was used to protect the neck from predators and others say that it helped to keep the Triceratops cool.
The Triceratops Stood Strong
Paleontologists have found fossils of Triceratops that date back all the way to the end of the Cretaceous period. This is assumed to be the time when the huge meteor struck the surface of the earth, leading to the extinction of dinosaurs. This discovery has led paleontologists to believe that triceratops may have survived the meteor impact, but perished because of the massive cloud of dust that enveloped the earth causing vegetation to die. Triceratops was vegetarian dinosaur.
photo credit: Anthony Sokolik under CC license 2.0
Triceratops Skulls are in Demand
As Triceratops skulls are so distinctive to look at because of their frill, these skulls command a high price in the market. Many private collectors and museums are willing to pay large sums of money to become proud owners of Triceratops skulls. In fact, in 2008, a private buyer paid a whopping $1 million for a Triceratops skull and then donated it to the Boston Museum of Science!
Thanks to Jurassic Park Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most popular dinosaurs in movies. However, if you look closely, most dinosaur movies will always feature a Triceratops as well. So, you can easily say that along with the T. Rex, this three-horned dinosaur also managed to become a movie star! If you have doubts, sit and watch Jurassic Park. You will notice a scene where there is a prone Triceratops lying next to a huge pile of poop!
Want to know more:
Here are some more sites where you may find more interesting information about this mighty dinosaur