Mesozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 Wyoming, USA
 75 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 150% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 6x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 4C above modern level

Mesozoic Earth - Torosaurus gather at a river bordered by ferns and Bald Cypress under an early morning sky; ceratopsid dinosaur - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Mesozoic
  Period: Cretaceous
   Epoch: Late
    Age: Campanian

     
 

Torosaurus riverside

A five ton, 25-foot-long male ceratopsid dinosaur of the genus Torosaurus drinks from a river bordered by ferns and deciduous conifers of the species Taxodium distichum (AKA Bald Cypress) 75 million years ago in what is today southeastern Wyoming. Torosaurus had one of the largest skulls of any known land animal, reaching over 8 feet in length.

Like the better known Triceratops, Torosaurus was a ceratopsid, a family of large four-legged plant-eating dinosaurs characterized by beaks, rows of shearing teeth in the back of the jaw, and elaborate horns and frills. While they resemble defensive shields, the frills are in fact relatively fragile, suggesting that they may have served a purpose other than protecting against a brute force attack. One possibility is that the frills were employed as visual displays in order to intimidate rivals and attract the opposite sex.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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