Triceratops‘s name comes from its unusual skull– it means “three horned face.” Those horns make Triceratops one of the most easily-recognized dinosaurs. Sometimes they’re compared to rhino horns, but the dinosaurs’ horns were made of bone, while rhinos’ horns are made of keratin, the same material that makes up our hair and fingernails. Some scientists think that the small horn on Triceratops‘s nose might have had a sheath of keratin over the bone, though. Recent scientific theories posit that Triceratops horns might have been used for attracting mates, recognizing animals of the same species, and showing off who was the toughest dino.
In addition to its horns, Triceratops had a bone frill on the back of its head, covering its neck, which may have served as protection from predators. This bony frill contributes to Triceratops having one of the biggest heads of any animal to ever walk the Earth– the largest Triceratops skulls were over 8 feet long!
Photo by Allie Caulfield