Triceratops did move in herds

It is impossible not to know one of the most successful film sagas in history: Jurassic Park. Here, one of the characters verified what was only a theory, by seeing the dinosaurs made flesh and blood. This crazy theory could now be verified. Triceratops did move in herds.

These are years of research on a bed of bones from five triceratops in Wyoming. They show that they lived and died as a group. It is just as they appear in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park saga.

These powerful animals were characterized by their horns.
These powerful animals were characterized by their horns.

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Together

A characteristic of this famous dinosaur is that it has three horns and a large frill on its neck. Until this discovery, the fossil record indicated that it was a solitary species.

The team at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands has been working on an excavation for ten years. He has already unearthed 1,200 bones and bone fragments from at least five individuals. These lived 67 million years ago. A team of professional and volunteer paleontologists and technicians spent years removing them from the quarry.

“The bone material is of very good quality.” This is said by Utrecht University paleontologist Jimmy De Rooij, who participated in the study. “This allowed us to show that, for example, these triceratops grew very slowly.” Details from the bone bed indicate that all five dinosaurs died together. Possibly they were trapped in a swamp. “They are found in a thin layer of rock, without bones of other species,” he explains in a statement.

Triceratops did move in herds.
Triceratops did move in herds.

Forming teams

Research into the physical and chemical properties of the hundreds of triceratops teeth speaks to a migratory existence. And this was the same for all five dinosaurs. Triceratops did move in herds. In other words: this species of dinosaur teamed up, at least occasionally. “And that, of course, leads to all kinds of new questions,” says De Rooij: “Exactly how complex was this social behavior?”

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