Triceratops Evolved Triple Horns over Millions of Years
It took millions of years for triceratops, dinosaur, to evolve those triple horns for which it was know. After studying more than 50 triceratops skulls unearthed at the Hell Creek site in Montana, researchers from Montana State University were able to reach at the above given conclusion.
Researchers found that older skulls had much shorter horns than the skulls from later period. This led researchers to affirm that the dinosaurs evolved the horns over a long period of time. They took one to two million years to evolve from Triceratops horridus to Triceratops prorsus.
"Over one to two million years at the end of the Cretaceous Period, Triceratops went from having a small nasal horn and long beak to having a long nasal horn and shorter beak", said researchers.
With passage of time, a number of changes came in triceratops. Structure of their skulls and horns changed. Horns' length increased to 3 feet and they took curved shape as they reached sexual maturity.
According to researchers, horns would have been used for defense when they had an encounter with predators like T.Rex. The hard, bony head frill is said to protect the dinosaur's neck area.
While assessing the fossils, researchers saw healed wounds in fossil skulls and frills. It seems that triceratops might have been involved in fight for territory, leadership or mates. The first fossil of triceratops was discovered in 1887.
Researchers said Triceratops is the most common dinosaur found in the Hell Creek Formation and the Museum. MSU researcher John Scannella said there are so many Triceratops in the fossil site that till now bones are being removed from field.
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