School is fast approaching! Hardly seems believable does it? It has been a great summer at the museum but much too short for me.
FYI: Quadruple Triceratops Dig
Peter Larson, President of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, says triceratops fossils are extremely rare. Finding four of them together in one spot is especially significant because the skeletons are normally found alone. Larson feels that this discovery tells scientists more about the animals` behavior.
“They were not solitary animals as we had thought for a long time,” Larson says. “But actually in this particular instance this was probably a family group because all four animals are a little bit different size. We have a couple of adults, or one full adult, one sub-adult, and two animals which you would classify as small sub-adults and perhaps a large juvenile. This find will tell us not only about some behavior which we did not know before, but it will also show us how these animals changed as they grew.”
Larson feels it is possible that triceratops were mostly solitary but stayed in family groups for a time as they grew into adulthood.
“It plays into something that’s pretty important to us all, and that is understanding the climate of the past, how climate changes, and what the consequences of rapid climate change can be,” Larson goes on to say.
The excavation has been underway since 2012, with help from paleontologists with Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands where the four skeletons will go on display together.