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Triceratops is the most commonly recovered dinosaur in the uppermost Cretaceous deposits of western North America, and its remains have been found throughout the region.
See the fact file below for more information on the Triceratops or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Triceratops worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Genus: †Triceratops
- Type Species: Triceratops horridus
- Clade: Dinosauria (Dinosaurs)
- Order: †Ornithischia (bird-hipped dinosaurs)
- Family: †Ceratopsidae (quadrupedal herbivores from the Upper Cretaceous)
SIZE AND APPEARANCE
- Triceratops were muscular and strong-limbed. They had short hands with three hooves each, and short feet with four hooves each.
- The head of Triceratops was among the biggest of all land animals, making up one-third of the entire length of its body.
- Paleontologists found a huge skull that has an estimated length of 8.2 feet (2.5 meters). Huge!
- Triceratops grew up to 30 feet (9 meters) and weighed over 11,000 lbs. (5,000 kg) — some large specimens found weighed nearly 15,750 lbs. (7,150 kg).
- Triceratops had three horns: two massive ones above its eyes, and a smaller horn on its snout. The two brow horns twisted and lengthened as a Triceratops aged.
- The hands and forearms of Triceratops retained a fairly primitive structure compared to other quadrupedal dinosaurs that walked with most of their fingers pointing out and away from the body.
- It was believed its horns were used for defense, especially against the great carnivore, Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- Another possibility is that the horns functioned primarily as display structures, perhaps for signaling relative maturity to other members of the group.
REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT
- Triceratops, like most dinosaurs, are believed to have laid eggs in small clutches in a nest which was guarded by the female until they were ready to hatch.
- A hatched Triceratops would soon grow into one of the greatest herbivores of all time.
- Theories suggest that the lifespan of the Triceratops was similar to that of mammals today.
- However, the Triceratops was a member of the reptile family and assumed to be cold blooded so their lifespan may be slightly different.
- Triceratops roamed North America around 67 million to 65 million years ago, during the end of the Cretaceous Period.
- To date, more than 50 Triceratops skulls have been found in the Hell Creek Formation, according to Scannella’s 2014 PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) study.
- Triceratops were herbivores. They possessed a beak and a massive amount of teeth. They may have eaten large amounts of tough, fibrous material.
- Triceratops teeth were arranged in groups called batteries, of 36 to 40 tooth columns in each side of each jaw, with 3 to 5 stacked teeth per column, enabling them to consume substantially.
- Their teeth, horn fragments, frill fragments, and other skull fragments during late Cretaceous (66 million years ago) define them as among the dominant herbivores of the time, if not the most dominant herbivore.
- Some evidence shows they lived in herds. Some remains excavated showed there may have been a family unit.
- Triceratops fossils are only found on the island continent of Laramidia, which is now present day Western North America. It shared this island continent with the T-Rex.
- Triceratops was originally mistaken for an overgrown bison during the initial findings. Subsequent discoveries from the area however, found that it was, in fact, a dinosaur.
- In 2010, confusion emerged after a paleontologist claimed the triceratops and torosaurus (a related dinosaur) were really one and the same. It was later proven otherwise.
- In 1889, a cattleman found a triceratops horn. He attempted to haul off his treasure by throwing a lasso over one of its horns, which promptly snapped off.
- A Triceratops “mummy” named Lane, with well-preserved skin impressions, shows Triceratops had scutes on its underside, scales on the rest of the body, and areas where quills may have protruded from the skin.
- The amount of skin and how preserved Lane was is still a great discovery and provides more work for researchers. Safely tucked inside the museum, anyone is welcome to come and see the amazing displays they’ve created.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Triceratops across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Triceratops worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Triceratops which is the most commonly recovered dinosaur in the uppermost Cretaceous deposits of western North America, and its remains have been found throughout the region.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- The Three-Horned Beast
- Dino Built
- Othniel Marsh
- Times of Existence
- Cretaceous Extinction
- Tricera-Word Creator
- Triceratops in Popular Culture
- Quick Review
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Link will appear as Triceratops Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 11, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.