The Facts

  • Genus/Species: Triceratops horridus
  • Conservation Status: Extinct
  • Location: Fossils have been found in North America, in Western Canada and Western United States.


The Scoop

The Three Horned Dinosaur

The triceratops was a dinosaur that looked a bit like a rhinoceros. It lived around 65 million years ago, during what is called Cretaceous Period. During this time, the triceratops roamed the open plains for food and probably used its horns to push over tall trees to get to the delicate top branches. This dinosaur had a short pointed tail and a bony neck frilled with bony bumps. It also had a beak like a parrot. It had many teeth in its cheek, but none in its beak, and it had a powerful jaw. The triceratops had one horn above its beak and two above each eye, giving it a truly fearsome look- as well as protection from its enemies. It lived in vast herds, and its babies were hatched from eggs.

The triceratops was huge- about 30 feet long, 10 feet tall, and weighed around 6 to 12 tons. In other words, it was as long as a big truck, and weighed as much as 3 to 5 cars put together. In spite of its huge size, the triceratops was a vegetarian and ate only plants.  It used its heavy beak to crush its food, which it then chewed with the teeth in its cheek.

The triceratops was one of the last of the dinosaurs to become extinct. These horned dinosaurs first appeared in the early Cretaceous Period and lasted through the decline of the dinosaurs toward the end of the Cretaceous. Finally, triceratops disappeared along with the remaining dinosaurs, around 65 million years ago.


Did You Know?

  • The triceratops had a skull that reached up to 6 ft – or the height of an adult- in length.
  • It had the biggest head ever possessed by a land animal. The head was almost one-third as long as its body.
  • Triceratops remains were first discovered in 1887 at Colorado, USA.
  • The name ‘Triceratops’ means ‘three horned face’.


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