If you’re dinosaur mad, you’re sure to have heard of one of the most famous pre-historic beasts – the triceratops. We all know that triceratops had three horns on its face, and you may even know that it was a plant eater, but did you know some of the other fun facts we’ve listed below? Test out your triceratops knowledge here – and if you’re looking for fun things to do in Reading this autumn, don’t miss the chance to see triceratops live in action at Dinosaur World Live!
As we’ve said, you’ll probably know that triceratops had three horns, but did you know its name literally means ‘three horned face’ in Greek? These horns are thought to have been used for duelling, in a similar way to how stags duel with their antlers. The giant neck frill, meanwhile, was a source of protection.
When the first triceratops specimen was discovered, way back in 1887, it was mistakenly thought to be an extinct species of bison. It was only later that it was found to be a horned dinosaur. The American palaeontologist, O.C. Marsh was first to name and describe it.
Triceratops was one of the last non-flying dinosaurs to have evolved, being part of the Late Cretaceous Period (145.5 million to 65 million years ago). Triceratops was walking the earth when the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Triceratops was a big dinosaur, stretching up to nine metres in length – that’s slightly longer than a bus! It weighed in at six to eight tons, and had an enormous head. Some skulls have been found measuring up to three metres long, but this wasn’t always able to deter the hungry T-rex; bite marks have been found in some specimens, including one fossil where a horn had been bitten clean off.
Young triceratops had small, straight horns above its eyes. As it grew, the horns became backward-curving, and then finally, when it reached adulthood, the horns curved forward. As for the horn on its nose, this was made of keratin, which is the same substance that human fingernails and rhino horns are made of.
Triceratops had a bird-like beak that helped it clip through the tough vegetation that formed part of its diet. It also had several hundred teeth in its jaws, which ground the food down. As one set of teeth wore down from the constant chewing, they were replaced by a new set.
You can learn more about the fascinating triceratops at Dinosaur World Live, a theatre production just for kids and one of the best Reading attractions this autumn. Lasting just 50 minutes with no interval and using stunning puppetry to tell the story of some of our best-loved dinosaurs, it’s sure to delight the whole family. If you’re looking for ideas for days out in Reading, don’t miss the chance to see it – book your tickets today!