Juvenile Triceratops Horn and Orbital Socket with Stand
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This specimen is a partial Triceratops horn and orbital bone recovered on private land from Niobrara County, Wyoming (Lance Formation).
Above: Triceratops Prorsus by Othniel C. Marsh, The Ceratopsia (1907) Highlighted area is an approximate comparison to the fossil on offer. Note that Marsh's illustration is of an adult Triceratops and this fossil is a juvenile.
Above: The horn without the stand. It measures 20" along the ridge.
The specimen comes from a juvenile Triceratops. The horn is compressed (i.e. flattened) which is typical of many Triceratops specimens. A partial orbital socket is still attached and blood grooves are apparent on the surface.
Above: A close-up image of the orbital socket and blood grooves.
The specimen also comes with a custom-made mounting stand designed to highlight the beauty of this incredible time capsule. The stand is made of welded steel and is painted black.
Above: The horn on display in the custom-made mounting stand.
Please Note: There are numerous points of visible repair on this specimen. Again, this is typical of Triceratops horns as well as most large fossils. There should be no concerns about displaying this specimen or handling it with care as it is extremely durable.
More About Triceratops
"The observed instances of periosteal reactive bone and healing fractures are consistent with such non-random trauma, and the elevated rates of abnormal bone morphology within the frill bones are consistent with predictions from modeling of horn-to-horn combat. This suggests that the cranial ornamentation of ceratopsids, particularly Triceratops, was not only for visual display but that the horns also had a real role in physical combat."
~ Andrew A. Farke, Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology "Evidence of Combat in Triceratops" (2009)
Triceratops belongs to a large family of dinosaurs known as the Ceratopsids. Ceratopsids lived during the Late Cretaceous Period. All Ceratopsids are quadrupeds with bony frills, horns, and beak-like mouths.
As you might expect, there is evidence that the frill and horns were used as defensive weapons against predators such as Tyrannosaurus Rex, including partially-healed frills and brow horns with Tyrannosaurid tooth marks. However, this is far from settled science.
Assessments of progressive changes in horn orientation and shape during adolescence also indicate the possible visual identification of juveniles, and eventually the onset of sexual maturity. Furthermore, the horns may have been important for sexual displays (sexual dimorphism) or even species recognition amid large herds.
In adulthood, Triceratops measured 29ft (9m) long and 10ft (3m) tall, with the head comprising nearly one-third the overall length. Studies of the incidence of lesions in the cranium and frill suggest that the Triceratops used its horns in combat and the frill was an adaptation for protection. In other studies, it was found that about one-third of the adult horn was hollow at its base, thus making it unlikely that the horns would be used for combat when they could be easily damaged.
Assessments of progressive changes in horn orientation and shape during adolescence indicate the possible visual identification of juveniles, and eventually the onset of sexual maturity. Furthermore, the horns may have been important for sexual displays (sexual dimorphism) or even species recognition amid large herds.
Above: Triceratops Prorsus by Othniel C. Marsh, The Ceratopsia (1907)
In addition, the presence of blood vessels in the frill suggests that these features could be used in identification, courtship, and dominance displays, much like the antlers and horns of modern reindeer, mountain goats, or rhinoceros beetles. The blood vessels also point to the possibility that the frill served to help regular body temperature.
Hatcher, John Bell, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Othniel Charles Marsh. The Ceratopsia. Vol. 49. US Government Printing Office, 1907.
Scannella, John B., and John R. Horner. "Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh, 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): synonymy through ontogeny." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30.4 (2010): 1157-1168.
Brusatte, Stephen L. Dinosaur Paleobiology. Vol. 2. John Wiley & Sons, 2012.
Farke, Andrew A., Ewan DS Wolff, and Darren H. Tanke. "Evidence of combat in Triceratops." PLoS One 4.1 (2009): e4252.
Farke, Andrew A. "Evaluating combat in ornithischian dinosaurs." Journal of Zoology 292.4 (2014): 242-249.
Hone, David WE, Darren H. Tanke, and Caleb M. Brown. "Bite marks on the frill of a juvenile Centrosaurus from the Late Cretaceous Dinosaur Provincial Park Formation, Alberta, Canada." PeerJ 6 (2018): e5748.
Horner, John R., and Mark B. Goodwin. "Major cranial changes during Triceratops ontogeny." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 273.1602 (2006): 2757-2761.