Triceratops controversy continues

Feb 29, 2012

Millions of years after its extinction, Triceratops is inciting controversy about how to classify the ancient animals. New analysis, published Feb. 29 in the open access journal PLoS ONE, suggests that the specimens in question should be classified into two separate groups, Triceratops and Torosaurus, and are not individuals of different ages from the same genus, as others have proposed.

The researchers, led by Nicholas Longrich of Yale University, performed detailed morphological and of 35 specimens and found evidence that Triceratops and Torosaurus should be considered distinct. In particular, the researchers aged skulls by looking at the closing of sutures between skull bones. They found evidence that some Torosaurus skulls were immature, and some Triceratops skulls were adult, which was inconsistent with the idea that skulls assigned to Torosaurus represented adult .

This result is in contrast to a hypothesis from a different group that suggests they actually represent juvenile and adult specimens from the same genus.

Explore further: Tombs with mythical carvings found in Chinese city that was once along the Silk Road

More information: Longrich NR, Field DJ (2012) Torosaurus Is Not Triceratops: Ontogeny in Chasmosaurine Ceratopsids as a Case Study in Dinosaur Taxonomy. PLoS ONE 7(2): e32623. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032623

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 – ...

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 ...

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.

Recommended for you

Recreating clothes from the Iron Age

3 hours ago

A few years ago, the oldest known piece of clothing ever discovered in Norway, a tunic dating from the Iron Age, was found on a glacier in Breheimen. Now about to be reconstructed using Iron Age textile techniques, ...

Oxford team shed light on ancient Egyptian obelisk

Nov 25, 2014

History was made this month as the robotic Philae lander completed the first controlled touchdown on a comet. The European Space Agency-led project was set up to obtain images of a comet's surface and help ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.