Triceratops vs T-Rex: What Are the Differences?

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: May 8, 2022
Image Credit Greir/Shutterstock.com
Share this post on:

When we imagine Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex) interacting with most other famous dinosaurs, the sad truth is that they probably lived in two very different time periods. However, that’s not the case with the T-Rex and a Triceratops. These two creatures did walk the planet at the same time. That doesn’t mean they were anything alike, though. We’re going to compare triceratops vs T-Rex and show you how these dinosaurs were different from one another.

Comparing a Triceratops and a T-Rex

Triceratops vs T-Rex - Face Off
These two dinosaurs lived on the planet at the same time.

Greir/Shutterstock.com

TriceratopsT-Rex
SizeWeight: 12,000lbs-20,000lbs
Height: 9ft – 10ft
Length: 25ft – 30ft
Weight: 11,000-15,000lbs
Height: 12-20ft
Length: 40ft
Morphology– Quadrupedal
– Three horns on its head
– Frill that protects the neck
– Bipedal
– Massive legs, small arms
– Large head and skull
Time Period– 68 to 65.5 million years ago– 90 to 66 million years ago
Eating Habits– Herbivorous– Carnivorous
– Either hunter or scavenger
Attack/Defense Methods– Used its bodyweight and horns against other members of its species
– Used horns and ramming to topple and kill enemies.
– Could potentially use its weight to stomp on foes.
– Killed prey using its massive 17,000lbf bite power
– 50-60 D-shaped serrated teeth
– 12-inch teeth
  

The Key Differences Between a Triceratops vs T-Rex

The most significant differences between a triceratops and a T-Rex were their morphology and their eating habits. Triceratops was a quadrupedal herbivore that was known for having three horns protruding from its head along with a large bony frill that protected its neck, and T-Rex was a bipedal carnivore that walked on two massive legs, possessed a large head and strong jaw, and had notoriously small arms.

These dinosaurs were clearly different from one another. However, those are just two of the main differences between these creatures. Let’s take a closer look at these reptiles and see just how unique they were!

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Size

Triceratops is heavier but shorter than the T-Rex. It’s believed that triceratops could weigh anywhere between 12,000lbs and 20,000lbs, stand 10ft tall, and measure 30ft in length. However, a T-Rex could weigh between 11,000lbs and 15,000lbs, stand 20ft tall, and measure 40ft long as a result of its forward-leaning body and long tail. In fact, a T-Rex’s tail could measure over 10ft long on its own.

All in all, the triceratops was a thicker, shorter, and heavier dinosaur compared to the T-Rex.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Morphology

The greatest difference between a triceratops and a T-Rex was their morphology. The T-Rex was a bipedal dinosaur that had massive legs but two small arms. The T-rex also had a very long tail that was held aloft while it walked. T-Rex’s head was massive, and it had a powerful jaw.

Triceratops was a quadruped that walked on four legs. As its name suggests, the dinosaur is famous for having three horns protruding from its head. Two of the horns measured up to 4ft long and protruded from the area of their head above their eyes. The dinosaur’s third horn was perhaps 2 ft long and grew from the “nose” area of the dinosaur’s head.

The triceratops was also known for having a bony frill on its neck that protected it from harm. If a larger carnivore ever managed to bite behind that frill, this creature would be in trouble.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Time Period

How Long Were Dinosaurs on Earth
Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the last living large dinosaurs.

Orla/Shutterstock.com

As we said before, most of the dinosaurs that are pictured together in movies and books did not live during the same time. However, the T-Rex and the triceratops shared a few million years on the planet.

According to fossil records, T-Rex walked the earth between 90 million years ago and 66 million years ago. The triceratops, one of the last-living large dinosaurs, lived between 68 and 65.5 million years ago. Thus, these two animals probably had some form of interaction.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Eating Habits

Triceratops was an herbivore, and the T-Rex was a carnivore. It’s also believed that T-Rex could have been a scavenger rather than an indomitable hunter.

Based on their eating habits, it could be that the T-Rex may have been a predator of the triceratops. Some evidence suggests that the T-Rex did eat triceratops. Apparently, they were quite successful at decapitating the fallen quadruped and eating their neck meat. That does not mean that T-Rex necessarily killed them all the time, though.  

Some scientists believe that T-Rex scavenged the dead bodies of triceratops after they had already died in another fashion, even if it was hunted by other dinosaurs. In that case, the T-Rex would eat in a way that other dinosaurs could not: by using the frill for leverage to tear off the head and expose the meat below.

In truth, we don’t know how often these dinosaurs fought or even if the T-Rex was the victor every time.

Triceratops vs T-Rex: Attack Methods

Allosaurus vs T-Rex - T-Rex Battle
T-Rex was a fierce predator.

Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com

The triceratops may have been an herbivore, but it was more than prepared for battle if the need arose. Triceratops had three horns, a massive skull, and powerful legs to charge at foes. A taller, more powerful dinosaur such as the T-Rex may have had some serious problems trying to kill the triceratops.

Since it was so close to the ground and had deadly horns that could keep foes at a distance or puncture vital organs with a charging attack, the T-Rex may have had a hard time with the stout triceratops.

Still, no matter how we look at it, the T-Rex had all the tools to be a devastating predator. The T-Rex had a massive bite that could deliver 17,000lbf of force. Its teeth could measure up to 12 inches long, and it had plenty of them! Every time this dinosaur bit another, it could be fatal.

The sheer power of this dinosaur is astounding, but that doesn’t make it invincible. T-Rex could be knocked over by heavier beings that attack its legs. Once it went down, the T-Rex would have a lot of trouble getting up again, especially if it was under attack.

Our triceratops vs T-Rex comparison shows that despite living in the same time period, these creatures were very different. From the things they ate to the way they looked, these were two dissimilar dinosaurs! Additional research and evidence are needed to determine exactly what interactions these creatures had with each other.

Share this post on:
About the Author

I am a freelancer specializing in SEO content writing. I write in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I've been writing full-time since 2018, so I've been doing remote work before it was cool. When I'm not working, I can be found reading, trying to catch up on my tv show backlog, playing video games, and starting stories that I'll never finish.