Triceratops Lived and Died in Groups: New Research Debunks ‘Solitary Creatures’ Myth

Triceratops Were Herd Animals, as Steven Spielberg Suggested

A decade of research on a bed of bones from five triceratops in Wyoming has revealed that they lived and died as a group, similar to the depiction in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Prior to this discovery, the fossil record of these famous three-horned dinosaurs suggested that they were solitary creatures.

The team at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands has spent years excavating 1,200 bones and bone fragments of at least five individuals who lived 67 million years ago. Professional and volunteer paleontologists and technicians carefully removed the bones from the quarry, allowing for detailed analysis. The high-quality bone material has provided insights into the slow growth rate of triceratops, as well as evidence that all five dinosaurs died together, possibly trapped in a swamp.

Research on the physical and chemical properties of the triceratops teeth indicates a migratory lifestyle shared by all five dinosaurs. This suggests that these dinosaurs may have exhibited social behavior, raising new questions about the complexity of their interactions.

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