Discovery Location: Harding County, South Dakota
Discovered By: Mike Triebold, 1992
Period: Late Cretaceous
Age: 66 million years
Formation: Hell Creek
Length: 24 ft
Location of Originial Specimen: Gunma Prefectural Museum, Japan
Triceratops, the most well known ceratopsian, reached lengths of over 30 feet. Their huge bulk alone made them a threat, but their long, stout horns provided them with a very dangerous weapon with which to defend themselves. The extensive frill of bone over the neck gave them an added measure of protection from surprise attack. They were plant eaters, chewing on ferns and low-lying vegetation. They also lived in herds and much like a cow or a rhino, had very poor vision.
Triceratops skulls are fairly common as fossils, but skeletons, especially articulated ones, are among the rarest. Predators and scavengers usually devoured the bodies and the large surface area of the skulls caused the water flow to tumble them away. This skeleton was about 80% complete with an excellent skull, an uncommon occurrence.