Triceratops (name meaning "Three-Horned Face") is a genus of well-armored herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaur, in fact the largest member of the Ceratopsian family, that lived in what is now western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, around 70 to 65 million years ago and was one of the last dinosaurs to have ever existed before the great extinction event at the end of the period.
Due to its impressive set of three horns and large frill, Triceratops has become one of the most famous and most recognized dinosaurs. It was also one of the last known to have evolved, and represents, along with the other freshly evolved species, a new faunal phase of the Dinosauria, that was killed in its tracks prematurely 65 Million Years Ago.
Triceratops lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous period around 73 million years ago and it died out with all the other dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous, as it was one of the last dinosaurs to go extinct. When the fossils of Triceratops were first discovered in Colorado, USA in 1889, John Bell Hatcher and Othneila Charles Marsh named the dinosaur "Triceratops horridus", which, as it turns out, means "Horrid Three-Horned Face."
Triceratops was the largest member of the ceratopsian family. Therefore, these were large, heavyset quadruped dinosaurs, with a fully grown adult Triceratops measuring around 30 feet (9 m) long, standing 9.5 feet (2.9 m) tall, weighing as much as 8 tons, and had a skull up to 3 meters in length, making it one of the biggest, if not, the biggest of the ceratopsians. They were prey animals for T. rex, being one of T. rex's favorite food.
If a human was unfortunate enough to stand in the way of a charging Triceratops, it would be in comparison to being hit by a train moving 10-15 mph. Much like their smaller Asian cousins Protoceratops, Triceratops possessed a beak that could snap of branches as thick as a mans arm. Bearing a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body (two long, sharp horns above its eyes and a smaller horn on its nose), and conjuring similarities with the modern rhinoceros, Triceratops is one of the most recognizable of all dinosaurs and the best known ceratopsid. It shared the landscape with and was preyed upon by the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex.
Unlike most of its relatives, Triceratops lacked the two holes that are covered with skin on its bony frill, allowing it to use it as a shield to its neck as well as using it for display. The front end of its jaws ended in a sort of a beak that enabled the dinosaur to browse the fronds and twigs of the woody plants that were contemporary to the end of the Cretaceous. Its limbs were thick and the hind legs were somewhat longer than the fore, which had a digitigrade posture, i.e. the weight was distributed to its toes, rather than the whole foot.
Like many herbivores and other members of the ceratopsian family, Triceratops lived and traveled in large herds of hundreds or even thousands of individuals filling up the plains in North America like modern day bison used to do. Seeing a herd of them would be a glorious site to wake up too.
A fully grown Triceratops was far from defenseless, as their frill was made of solid bone. But younger Triceratops knew better than to stand their ground. For youngsters to grow to 8 tons, they spent most of their lives feeding. Whenever Triceratops fed, these weren't grazing animals like cows. Instead, they were browsers like black rhinos. As such, Triceratops feed on low trees and shrubs.
Another part of their lives was jousting with one another, which is what Triceratops did in the wild. Like most, if not, all other members of the ceratopcian family, Triceratops had jousting tournaments in nature during times like mating season (when males fought over females or leadership) or when juveniles jousted for fun, injuring their frill and neck. But regardless of how they lived, fought, and protected themselves, Triceratops was a magnificent dinosaur.
Despite their fearsome appearance, Triceratops were in fact gentles and inoffensive giant vegetarian that would only attack if it felt threatened or challenged. It also instinctively disliked the colour red, and was easily aggravated by the sight of it into charging.
|“|| Triceratops is the most magnificent horned and frilled dinosaurs that ever lived. These large creatures, weighing 8 tons and measuring roughly 30 feet long, lived in big herds. With their frills made of solid bone and horns large enough to injure even a Tyrannosaurus, these dinosaurs were far from defenseless. When the fossils were discovered in 1889, the paleontologists named them 'Triceratops Horridos', which means "Horrid Three-Horned-Face". But as is turns out, they are not only magnificent, but glorious.
The horns of their 10 foot heads were perfect weapons against any predator, even ones as mighty as they terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex. Additionally, they used them in jousting tournaments with each other during mating season. However, younger Triceratops knew better than to stand their ground. If you are ever unfortunate enough to stand in the way of a charging, 8-ton Triceratops running at 10-15 miles per hour, it will be the last thing you'll ever do.
|— Allen, in his Journal, about Triceratops|