Thanks to its trinity of horns, Triceratops has become of the most recognisable of dinosaurs. The sight of two bulls charging at each other and jousting with their horns must have been an incredible one – geeky palaeontologists might get a small thrill just thinking about it. But did it ever really happen? Did Triceratops ever use its unmistakeable horns in combat, or were they simply for show?
Both theories have been put forward, but Andrew Farke from the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Palaeontology thinks that both were probably right. By looking at the pattern of injuries on the skulls Triceratops specimens, his team has found evidence that the dinosaur really did use its horns for duelling, and its giant neck frill for protection. Triceratops was effectively a reptilian knight that carried two lances and a shield on top of its enormous head.
Triceratops is one of the cooler of the dinosaurs, and one of my favorites. It doesn’t surprise me that the horns on a “trike” were functional as well as decorative.
I think I have mentioned elsewhere that there are only four complete triceratops skeletons on display in all of the United States.
I’ve seen three of them (St. Paul,New York and Washington, D.C). Improbably, the fourth one is in Milwaukee.