If you were to ask a person to name a three-horned dinosaur, the most common answer you would receive is the Triceratops. However, another quadrupedal dinosaur with three horns shared a range and perhaps more with Triceratops. The Torosaurus had two horns on its head and one over its snout. Telling these creatures apart can be rather difficult. In fact, some scientists claim that the two large dinosaurs are the same. Let’s take a look at Torosaurus vs Triceratops and get to the bottom of that claim.
Comparing a Torosaurus and a Triceratops
|– 69-66 million years ago
|– 68-66 million years ago
|– Larger frill that had two large holes in it near the top in the bone, but not the fleshy covering
|– Shorter and smaller frill than Torosaurus
– No holes in the frill
|– From Texas to the southern portion of Alberta and Saskatchewan
|– Colorado through Alberta, Canada
The Key Differences Between a Torosaurus vs Triceratops
The biggest differences between Torosaurus and Triceratops are their estimated sizes, location, and the size of their frill. The Torosaurus was a quadrupedal dinosaur weighing up to 13,000lbs, standing 8ft tall, and measuring 30ft long that lived from Texas to the south of Alberta and Saskatchewan and possessed a larger frill than Triceratops.Triceratops was a dinosaur that weighed up to 20,000lbs, lived from Colorado to the middle portion of Alberta, Canada, and had a smaller, shorter frill compared with Torosaurus.
In short, Torosaurus was possibly smaller than Triceratops but had a larger frill than the famous tri-horned dinosaur. These differences don’t automatically make these dinosaurs different creatures, though.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Size
Triceratops was larger than Torosaurus, and it was large enough to fend to off some of the largest dinosaurs that roamed the world at the same time as it. Triceratops weighed between 12,000lbs and 20,000lbs, stood about 10ft tall, and measured 30ft long. Torosaurus is believed to have weighed up to 13,000lbs, stood 8ft high, and measured 30ft.
The interesting thing about these measures and estimates is that some studies believe that Torosaurus and Triceratops are the same dinosaurs. These scientists believe that Torosaurus is the mature version of the Triceratops, but that may not be true. If that’s the case, then the size estimates for these dinosaurs may not be accurate.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Time Period
Triceratops and Torosaurus lived at roughly the same time in history. The fact that the fossil evidence shows that Torosaurus and Triceratops both lived between as few as 66 million years ago means they likely lived on Earth at the same time.
However, fossil evidence also suggests that Torosaurus may predate Triceratops by a million years or so. Then again, new fossils could easily shift the estimates. Interestingly, both dinosaurs also lived in the same area of the world, too.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Frill
Torosaurus had a frill with two holes in it. This fill was much larger than the one possessed by Triceratops. Triceratops had a solid frill, though. The differences in their frills are the subject of much discussion in the world of paleontology.
One theory states that the Torosaurus is the mature version of the Triceratops. Supporters believe that as the Triceratops aged, its frill elongated and developed the two holes that distinguish it from Torosaurus.
However, other studies claim that the two dinosaurs are distinct and represent different species. That would explain the differences in their frills.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Eating Habits
Both the Triceratops and Torosaurus were herbivorous. The information gathered from their fossils indicates that they had the teeth of creatures that primarily rely on plants to survive.
These dinosaurs were very large, so they had to eat very often to support their mass. Triceratops and Torosaurus probably grazed throughout the day to find enough food.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Area
The Torosaurus and Triceratops both lived in what is now North America about 66 million years ago until the Chicxulub impactor struck. However, the two dinosaurs’ ranges did not completely overlap.
Torosaurus fossils were found as far south as West Texas near the border with Mexico, throughout much of the Great Plains, and into the far south of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada.
Triceratops fossils were found from Colorado into the middle of Alberta, Canada. While significant portions of their fossils were found in the same area, not all of them were. That fact is important when we’re considering if these two dinosaurs were the same.
Are Torosaurus and Triceratops the Same Dinosaur?
According to a 2012 study, Torosaurus and Triceratops were two different dinosaur species. This study eschewed information about their area and focused solely on the skulls and frills of the two dinosaurs.
They compared the fossilized remains of dozens of Torosaurus and Triceratops. The researchers found evidence of mature Triceratops and juvenile Torosaurus. That should be impossible if the two were the same dinosaurs.
Lacking in this study was any sign of a transition between Triceratops and Torosaurus, another sign that the two cannot be the same creature. At some point, the Triceratops’ frill would need to grow and develop the holes for which the Torosaurus is known.
Torosaurus vs Triceratops: Who Would Win in a Fight?
Triceratops would win a fight against Torosaurus. Torosaurus and Triceratops both lived in the same place throughout the United States. Thus, it’s likely that a brief fight over territory could have occurred.
The Torosaurus had a larger frill and a larger skull compared to the Triceratops. However, it’s the size of the two dinosaurs and the length of their horns that decide this fight. The largest estimates for the size of a Triceratops are double the weight of the Torosaurus.
That much power and weight would overwhelm the Torosaurus if the two clashed their heads like two deer. The Triceratops’ sheer power could lay low the Torosaurus and make it back off. Yet, if the Triceratops wanted to deliver a fatal blow with its horns, it could.
We could say the same about the Torosaurus, but we have to rule in favor of size and power when the two dinosaurs are so similar.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Warpaint/Shutterstock.com
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.