Wednesday, October 11, 2006

 

Evolution: Surprising Twists Found in Triceratops Horns

The two massive horns above Triceratops' eyes grew from tiny stubs that curved backwards, then forwards before settling into a permanent shape in the dinosaur's adulthood, a new study finds.

Triceratops was a ponderous plant-eating creature best known for its great bony head frill and three horns: one above each eye and one above its beaklike mouth. It lived during the late Cretaceous Period, making it among the last dinosaurs to evolve before their demise about 65 million years ago. An adult could grow up to 30 feet long and weighed up to 5 tons.

Researchers John R. 'Jack' Horner* of the University of Montana and Mark Goodwin of the University of California, Berkeley examined the skulls of 10 Triceratops that died at different ages, including recently unearthed baby and juvenile specimens. The baby skull was just over a foot long, while adult skulls were more than six-feet in length." [Science, Evolution, Palaeontology, Paleontology, Fossils, Fossil]

Continued at "Surprising Twists Found in Triceratops Horns"
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Based on "Major cranial changes during Triceratops ontogeny" (Abstract)

*Jack Horner's most recent book is "Dinosaurs Under the Big Sky": Amazon UK | US

Museum of the Rockies homepage

Also see "Museum of the Rockies: Jack Horner knows his dinosaurs (Video)"

and "Baby Triceratops found by Museum of the Rockies researchers"

Books on Dinosaurs from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

Books on Paleontology from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

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