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 Triceratops Never Actually Existed, Scientists Say

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Haunter
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PostSubject: Triceratops Never Actually Existed, Scientists Say   Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:08 am

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Brace yourselves. The famous triceratops dinosaur never actually existed as a separate dinosaur species, paleontologists say.

Known for its three horns and the bony, frilled ridge around its head, the triceratops was most likely just a younger version of the rarer torosaurus, say researchers John Scannella and Jack Horner at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.

The species were very similar. Both had three horns and each had the distinctive head frill that makes the triceratops famous. But in the torosaurus the horns and ridge were shaped differently, with the ridge appearing smoother and thinner. It also had two holes.

After studying 29 triceratops skulls, the scientists discovered the bone was thinning in the same area where the torosaurus’s holes were. Evidence began mounting as they counted the growth rings in the bones and discovered all the triceratops skulls were from young dinosaurs. What’s more, juvenile specimens of the torosaurus have never been found. They concluded the dinosaurs were actually the same, with the horns and ridge changing shape as the lizard matured.

Reports the Daily Mail:

The research, which appeared in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, says that the neck-frill and horns changed shape as the animal aged because they were spongy and would not harden until the dinosaur was an adult.

Scannella says.,”Even in the most mature specimens that we’ve examined, there is evidence that the skull was still undergoing dramatic changes at the time of death.”

Scientists had previously theorized the ridge was used as a form of defensive armour, but now think it was most likely a sign of maturity.

“If I was a triceratops I wouldn’t want anything too damaging to happen to my frill, as it had numerous large blood vessels running over the surface,” Mr. Scannella told New Scientist. “I don’t imagine holding up a thin bony shield that can gush blood would be a very effective means of defence.”

Triceratops fans shouldn’t despair at the finding, though. Scientists will now reclassify all torosaurus as triceratops.
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OscarxGrind

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PostSubject: Re: Triceratops Never Actually Existed, Scientists Say   Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:11 pm

Is it okay if I just continue to live in ignorant bliss?
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