Triceratops is one of the best-known dinosaurs to have lived. It intrigues scientists and dino-fans alike due to its three horns and giant frill. Such is its popularity that Triceratops has often featured in modern media, and is one of the stars of the Dinosaur World Live theatre show. Those looking for places to visit in Portsmouth this November can catch the production at the New Theatre Royal.
If you’re captivated by the mighty Triceratops, here are some facts you may not know.
Triceratops is easily recognisable partly because it has a huge skull, which accounted for one third of its entire body. The backwards-pointing frill could reach up to two metres in length, and the three horns on its face made it a formidable sight.
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, most of Triceratops’ skull was covered by indentations made by blood vessels, similar to those found on the beaks of living birds. This suggests the head was covered in keratin, and since keratin is colourful in many birds, Triceratops’ skull may also have been very colourful.
The possible presence of colourful keratin isn’t the only similarity between Triceratops and living birds. The dinosaur also had a hard, parrot-like beak, which enabled it to clip off hundreds of kilos of tough vegetation. Triceratops also had hundreds of teeth for chewing; as one set wore down, they were replaced by the next set.
Triceratops was a large dinosaur, with the largest of the species approaching nine metres in length and weighing as much as 7,000kg. But its ancestors weren’t all so big; one of its earliest predecessors was Chaoyangsaurus, which weighed nearer 13kg and only had the basic beginnings of a horn and frill.
Many dinosaur fossils are few and far between – like those of Stegosaurus and Giraffatitan – meaning scientists have to do a lot of guess work about how they lived. There are lots of Triceratops fossils though – 47 skulls were found between 2000-2010 alone! That means several complete skeletons have been constructed, which is really unusual.
By the time Triceratops evolved, North America had already split from Europe and begun to drift away. This means that the dinosaur was confined to the continent. Fossils have been found in Montana, North and South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, and also in Canada.
Recent research suggests that Triceratops’ horns and neck frill weren’t only for fending off hungry tyrannosaurs. Fighting between adult Triceratops seems to have been a regular occurrence, although no-one knows why.
If you’re looking for things to do in Portsmouth this autumn, don’t miss Dinosaur World Live. You’ll meet some exciting dino friends in this interactive show, including the impressive Triceratops. At just 50 minutes long with no intervals, it’s perfect for kids, and one of the best things to do in Portsmouth for families, so book your tickets today.