Mesozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 North America
 68 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 - A colorful Triceratops wanders a Cretaceous forest 68 million years ago in what is today the western United States; dinosaurs; herbivores; cerapods; ceratopsidae; late Maastrichtian stage - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

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

     
 

Colorful Triceratops

A ten ton ceratopsid dinosaur of the genus Triceratops wanders a Cretaceous forest 68 million years ago in what is today the western United States.

Triceratops is the best known of the Ceratopsids, 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. While no color pigmentation has been preserved in the fossil remains of ceratopsids, it's not unreasonable to suggest that they may have been very colorful, like many reptiles and birds today.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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