Triceratops

Were it not already obvious, this is intended as ‘Carnegie ceratopsian week’, though with a couple of pachycephalosaurs knocking around as well, this might yet be ‘marginocephalian week’ instead. This Triceratops mount has an original skull with the rest being a rather nice cast (as some of you should know already). There is, however, not much I can really say about Triceratops that has not been said many times before and by people better qualified than me to do it.

It’s big, well known, iconic even and is incredibly popular as an animal for reasons I never quite worked out. As a child it was probably my favourite and yet I couldn’t tell you why then or now, it’s not got the pure size of Diplodocus or giant teeth et al. of Tyrannosaurs or is even quite as odd as Stegosaurus which you might expect kids to gravitate to, yet this does seem to be one of the all time top dinosaurs.

9 Responses to “Triceratops”


  1. 1 Robert A. Sloan 07/12/2011 at 9:06 am

    I know what you mean. Triceratops is iconic – maybe it’s those big horns and the idea of them fighting tyrannosaurs. A plant eater with some armaments!

    I always liked Parasaurolophus after the theropods as a kid. Triceratops and Stegosaurus were awesome too though.

  2. 2 David 07/12/2011 at 10:52 am

    I liked Parasaurolophus too…

  3. 3 Mark Robinson 07/12/2011 at 11:36 am

    I always thought that it was popular because it was so often portrayed as the one “peaceful herbivore” that was a match for T. rex.

  4. 4 Tim Donovan 07/12/2011 at 12:47 pm

    Ankylosaurus was portrayed that way too.

  5. 5 Zhen 07/12/2011 at 4:36 pm

    When I first learned about dinosaurs, Triceratops seems to be the ultimate rival to tyrannosaurus. Even the museum display had art of them facing off in combat. Books also like to do that as well.

    • 6 Tim Donovan 09/12/2011 at 1:16 pm

      As you know, the reality of the “classic confrontation” was confirmed by the SUP study.

  6. 7 Mark Witton 07/12/2011 at 4:44 pm

    Ankylosaurus, though, is relatively passive in defence. Sure, there’s a tail club, but it’s depicted in most kids books as a relatively slow, dimwitted and unsocial animal compared to Triceratops. By contrast, Triceratops is one of the largest ceratopids, probably lived in family-friendly herds and can hold its own against big theropods. It’s far from a boring, passive defender with those massive horns and the ability – at least in the simple world of kiddie dinosaur books – to charge them directly into marauding tyrannosaurs. Hence, I think it’s easy to see why Triceratops has obvious appeal to kids: it’s the friendly dinosaur that wouldn’t hurt them, is fun enough to play with, and could also protect them from bullying tyrannosaurs. What’s not to like?

    • 8 Tim Donovan 09/12/2011 at 1:14 pm

      I remember old kiddie books portrayed Ankylosaurus as invulnerable and capable of giving T. rex a nasty whack which drove it away. Triceratops, though, was the real hero who finished the tyrant king off in the end.

  7. 9 Sara 07/12/2011 at 6:47 pm

    I always liked it because it has my name in it. Tri-“Sara”-tops!


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