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Torosaurus - Adult Triceratops?

Updated on April 19, 2013

So does Triceratops still exist?

In August 2010 paleontologists reported that Torosaurus was not a separate species of dinosaurs, but the adult version of the popular Triceratops dinosaur. There was concern that we would have to stop talking about Triceratops and just use the name Torosaurus. The internet got very worried that Triceratops never existed, would we lose our beloved Triceratops?

Read on to find out the facts.

Schleich Triceratops

We love this Schleich Triceratops. Three horns, a bony crest, a beak nose, stocky build, scaly. Yes, definitely a Triceratops. Or is it?

New Study Says Torosaurus=Triceratops

In August 2010 the internet got very excited about a scientific research paper which claimed that Triceratops is the immature form of the dinosaur called Torosaurus.

Paleontologists including doctoral student John Scannella studied the skulls of many Triceratops and Torosaurus and concluded that the differences between the skulls were changes during the lifetime of the dinosaur. The possibility that the animals represented male and females of the same species was also considered. But Scannella thinks the mature/immature hypothesis is the most likely.

This blog post explains the discovery.

Triceratops are young Torosaurus

torosaurus triceratops
torosaurus triceratops

We looked in our dinosaur box and found a Torosaurus and a smaller Triceratops. And explained their new relationship :-)

Triceratops vs Torosaurus - Triceratops never existed?

The media got very concerned that the new research would mean that Triceratops no longer existed. The Daily Mail ran an article with the title 'Triceratops 'never really existed but was just a young version of another dinosaur'. There were suggestions that we wouldn't be able to use the name Triceratops any more and we would have to replace the name Triceratops with Torosaurus.

This concern for a childhood favorite dinosaur was unfounded. When it comes to naming species its the earliest name that wins. And Triceratops was named in 1891 wheres Torosaurus was named in 1989. Phew. It was close. But Triceratops is safe!

Do you agree with the research?

Is Triceratops and young Torosaurus?

See results

Buy a Triceratops - Best Toy Triceratops

Triceratops is definitely one of the favorite childhood dinosaurs. There are some brilliant Triceratops toys available. Here are some of our favorites.

And yes, they are definitely still called Triceratops. You just won't find any old Triceratops.

Learn about Triceratops vs Torosaurus

Resources to learn more about the research into the relationship between Triceratops and Torosaurus, including the journal paper that claims that Torosaurus is the mature version of Triceratops.

Are you glad we get to keep the name Triceratops? Are you interested in how we're finding out more about dinosaurs all the time. Did you learn something from this page? We'd love to hear from you.


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    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 6 years ago

      Very happy that the name stayed the same, it is difficult when facts about dinosaurs are constantly changing but the good thing is that we are all still learning and it expands and makes dinosaurs more real to know what they were really like.

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      RebeccaE 7 years ago

      I am glad they kept teh name, it would simply get to confusing, and sometimes names of dinosaurs are hard enough!