Triceratops is a type of ceratopsid dinosaur which was a herbivore. Its name means “three horned face”, and it lived during the Cretaceous period in North America. Despite the fact Triceratops was a herbivore, it was a formidable creature, and could be as long as 30 feet and weigh up to 12,000 pounds.
This dinosaur was much larger than many trucks and cars today, and it is easy to see why fossils of Triceratops have been found clutched in mortal combat with predators. Triceratops was a creature which was not to be taken lightly. This dinosaur was first discovered in 1888 by John Hatcher. It was recognized as a species of dinosaur when a skull was found intact.
At first, Triceratops was mistaken for being a type of bison. Because its skull was so strong, it has been fossilized well, and it is one of the easier species of dinosaurs for paleontologists to study. There are many different varieties of this species, and it has three horns with one being located just above the nostrils. The other two horns are located just above the eyes.
The primary purpose of these horns are believed to be defenses against such predators as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, who was an arch enemy. Other paleontologists believe that the skull and horns were used as a way of communicating with other Triceratops. The horns may also have been used to fight against other Triceratops which threatened its territory. It could have also been used for attracting mates, or all of these things.
Paleontologists who have studied Triceratops believe that the animal lived in hurts, and were social. This evidence is based on the number of different Triceratops footprints which have been found close to each other. They would have ate plants and shrubs, and would fight to the death to protect their young. Because of the number of fossils which have been found, many believe that Triceratops was the most dominant herbivore during this time.
For a long time, many people have thought Triceratops charged its prey and used its horns to stab them. However, recent tests show that the horns would have broke if the Triceratops hit a creature such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex with enough speed to stab it. Therefore, many paleontologists now believe that Triceratops used its horns more like the phalanx, waiting for its enemy to get close enough to be pierced.