Controversy over Triceratops identity continues

Dec 14, 2011

Despite their extinction millions of years ago, Triceratops continue to incite controversy. In the latest chapter, researchers present further evidence that three genera thought at one time or another to be distinct – Triceratops, Torosaurus, and Nedoceratops – actually represent different individuals that all belong to the Triceratops genus.

The work, led by John Scannella of Montana State University and published in the Dec. 14 issue of the online journal PLoS ONE, focuses on one particular specimen – a single skull – that has been the subject of considerable debate.

Some consider it a Triceratops, while others argue that it is a different genus. The new analysis provides evidence that this specimen is in fact a Triceratops, and that much of the confusion has arisen due to significant skeletal changes that are thought to occur during Triceratops development, as well as natural variation within the genus.

These factors result in specimens with some features that are considerably different, but are nonetheless all , the authors conclude.

Explore further: T. rex gets new home in Smithsonian dinosaur hall

More information: Scannella JB, Horner JR (2011) 'Nedoceratops': An Example of a Transitional Morphology. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28705.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028705

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smallest Triceratops skull described

Mar 06, 2006

A cast of a foot-long skull from the youngest Triceratops dinosaur every discovered is now on display at the University of California-Berkeley.

Was Triceratops a social animal?

Mar 24, 2009

Until now, Triceratops was thought to be unusual among its ceratopsid relatives. While many ceratopsids—a common group of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived toward the end of the Cretaceous—have been found ...

Ancient wounds reveal Triceratops battles

Jan 28, 2009

How did the dinosaur Triceratops use its three horns? A new study published in the open-access, peer reviewed journal PLoS ONE and led by Andrew Farke, curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, locate ...

Newly discovered dinosaur likely father of Triceratops

Jan 31, 2011

Triceratops and Torosaurus have long been considered the kings of the horned dinosaurs. But a new discovery traces the giants' family tree further back in time, when a newly discovered species appears to ha ...

Last dinosaur before mass extinction discovered

Jul 13, 2011

A team of scientists has discovered the youngest dinosaur preserved in the fossil record before the catastrophic meteor impact 65 million years ago. The finding indicates that dinosaurs did not go extinct ...

Recommended for you

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

Apr 14, 2014

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Serbia experts use heavy machinery to move mammoth

Apr 11, 2014

Serbian archaeologists on Friday used heavy machinery to move a female mammoth skeleton—believed to be one million years old—from an open mine pit where it was unearthed nearly five years ago.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
not rated yet Dec 14, 2011
Wow...

If these idiots think every skeleton having some different features makes it a different "species" then no wonder they can't figure anything out.

Ever looked at variation in DEER morphology even within the same species?

How about HUMAN morphology, which apparently varies by as much as 6 or 7 feet in height between the tallest and shortest adults...

I mean, wow.

Learn some biology before you try to do paleontology.

More news stories

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.