Triceratops controversy continues

February 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: Smallest Triceratops skull described

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

Related Stories

Smallest Triceratops skull described

March 6, 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.

Ancient wounds reveal Triceratops battles

January 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, located on the ...

Newly discovered dinosaur likely father of Triceratops

January 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 have reigned long ...

Controversy over Triceratops identity continues

December 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 – ...

Recommended for you

From a very old skeleton, new insights on ancient migrations

October 9, 2015

Three years ago, a group of researchers found a cave in Ethiopia with a secret: it held the 4,500-year-old remains of a man, with his head resting on a rock pillow, his hands folded under his face, and stone flake tools surrounding ...

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

It was one of the worst defeats in one of history's most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Who you gonna trust? How power affects our faith in others

October 6, 2015

One of the ongoing themes of the current presidential campaign is that Americans are becoming increasingly distrustful of those who walk the corridors of power – Exhibit A being the Republican presidential primary, in which ...


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.