8.8" Triceratops Caudal Vertebra on Metal Stand - Wyoming

This is a caudal (tail) vertebra of Triceratops horridus, collected from the Lance (Creek) Formation of Weston County, Wyoming. It is in excellent condition, complete with transverse processes, spinous process, prezygapophyses/postzygapophyses, and an intact neural canal that has had the rock removed. The preservation of the processes is amazing considering these features are fairly fragile and can become detached and lost over the years. It comes with a custom metal display stand for aesthetic vertical presentation of this incredible vertebra.

This vertebra measures 8.8" tall by 9.7" wide, with a 2.8" thick centrum. On the stand, the entire specimen stands 10.4" tall.

There is gap fill restoration at the proximal end of each transverse process where the bone crumbled away over the years. A repaired crack with gap fill can be found at the base of each pedicle where the superior half of the vertebra was found separated at the neural canal. Restoration was required to attach the prezygapophyses and postzygapophyses to the vertebra, and there are some repaired cracks through the centrum.

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 skull, chewing on fibrous plants. They struggled against large predators, stood their ground, and tried not to be devoured by the ferocious Tyrannosaurus rex.

An artists rendering of Triceratops.
An artists 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 ft) in length, 3 meters (9.8 ft) in height, and weighed up to 26,000 lbs. The largest known skull is estimated to have been 2.5 m (8.2 ft) in length and would have extended almost a third of the length of the mature individual. The pointed horns were approximately 1 meter (3ft) 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 with 3 to 5 stacked teeth per column, depending on the individual’s size. This produces 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. (Wikipedia).

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


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

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DETAILS
SPECIES
Triceratops horridus
LOCATION
Weston County, Wyoming
FORMATION
Lance (Creek) Formation
SIZE
8.8 x 9.7", 10.4" tall on stand
CATEGORY
SUB CATEGORY
ITEM
#211081
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