Thursday, August 5, 2010

Triceratops no more!!!

Well, no... not really. But I thought I would employ the same type of sensationalist headline which caught my eye about this recent paleontological discovery. Here's the story from the online new source

"Triceratops never actually existed, scientists say

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.

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

So if you read down to the last line, you see that it is Torosaurus fans who should be bummed out.

Whew. -- PL

P.S. The artwork here is something I did many years ago for Hampshire Life, and as you probably guessed it was drawn on coquille board.


David McBride said...

First Pluto and now this!! Glad to hear they are still going to call the species Triceratops.

Wild Goose said...

"... horns and ridge changing shape as the lizard matured."

And now they're back to being reptiles again??

Dierna said...

Wild Goose:

Well Ceratopsians ARE Dinosaurs which means Terrible/Powerful/Wonderous Lizard. All Dinosaurs are reptiles in general. Just like all Pterasaurs are reptiles (but they're not dinosaurs!)

Don Juan said...

"So if you read down to the last line, you see that it is Torosaurus fans who should be bummed out."

I had a good laugh at that one as that was my first thought!