3.85" Dinosaur (Triceratops) Bone Section - Montana

This is a 3.85" wide section of dinosaur (Triceratops sp.) bone, collected from the Hell Creek Formation in Montana.

Triceratops is one of the most recognized and intriguing of the North American ceratopsid dinosaurs. They stomped around the Late Cretaceous (around 68-66 mya), brandishing their three-pronged and bony frilled skulls, chewing on fibrous plants. They struggled against large predators, stood their ground, and tried not to be devoured by the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex.

An artist's rendering of Triceratops.
An artist's rendering of Triceratops.


The head on a Triceratops may have been an intimidating show rather than a stabbing, defensive trident and imposing shield for inter-species jousting. Researchers have given close scrutiny to the holes, or fenestrae, of other ceratopsid crests. In the past, the holes within the shield were used to confirm separate species.

Individual Triceratops are estimated to have reached up to 9 meters (29.5 feet) in length, 3 meters (9.8 feet) in height, and weighed up to 26,000 pounds. The largest known skull is estimated to have been 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long and would have extended almost a third of the length of the mature individual. The pointed horns were approximately 1 meter (3 feet) long. With its sturdy build and powerful legs, Triceratops could have ripped open the predator that wanted this herbivore for dinner.

One of the most abundant of the large Cretaceous fauna, Triceratops plucked low growth with its beak-tipped jaws. Triceratops teeth were arranged in groups, called batteries, of 36 to 40 tooth columns, in each side of each jaw. Each column contained about 3 to 5 stacked teeth, depending on the individual’s size. This produced a range of 432 to 800 teeth, of which only a fraction were in use at any given time (due to tooth replacement). The great size and quantity of teeth suggests that they ate large volumes of fibrous plants. These were possibly palms, cycads, and ferns.

Closeup of the jaws and teeth of Triceratops.
Closeup of the jaws and teeth of Triceratops.


Triceratops was designated as the state fossil of South Dakota in 1988.


Because of its age and sedimentary composition, the Hell Creek Formation has become one of the most paleontologically studied areas in the world. 158 genera of animals and 64 genera of plants are known from the formation and new discoveries are made frequently. In addition to Tyrannosaurs, Ceratopsids, and Hadrosaurs, the formation has yielded remains of amphibians, reptiles, lizards, snakes and turtles, fish and sharks, avian and non-avian dinosaurs, and mammals. The Hell Creek Formation gives the most complete understanding of the environment just before the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.
FOR SALE
$25
DETAILS
SPECIES
triceratops horridus
LOCATION
Montana
FORMATION
Hell Creek Formation
SIZE
3.85 x 1.55"
CATEGORY
SUB CATEGORY
ITEM
#287501
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