Why Triceratops, a prehistoric herbivore, looked so fierce
Scientists still debate the purpose of this dinosaur's iconic horns and spiky head plate. Find out what we’ve learned about how Triceratops lived and why it went extinct.
With its three sharp horns and spiky head plate, Triceratops horridus must have been an intimidating presence as it trampled across western North America in the late Cretaceous period, some 69 million years ago. Despite its fierce appearance, this famous ceratopsian, or horned dinosaur, was an herbivore.
No evidence suggests that Triceratops waged epic battles against Tyrannosaurus rex, but it’s perhaps understandable that popular culture has depicted them this way. The massive Triceratops cut a formidable figure in the prehistoric landscape, stretching up to 30 feet long and weighing six to eight tons. Stout legs helped this quadruped support all that weight as it ambled through the underbrush of North America.
Scientists continue to debate the primary