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Pentaceratops was a rhinoceros-like dinosaur. It walked on four sturdy legs and had three horns on its face along with a large bony plate projecting from the back of its skull (a frill). One upward-pointing horn above its parrot-like beak and two longer, forward-pointing horns above its eyes probably provided protection from predators, and were possibly used in mating rivalry and rituals. It also had two enlarged, horn-like cheekbones that protruded from its face. It had a very large skull, 9.8 feet (3 m) long, with a very large, bony, scalloped, head frill. It has the largest-known skull ever found (for a land-dwelling animal).
Pentaceratops was about was up to 28 feet (8 m) long, roughly 10 feet tall (3 m), and weighed up to 8 tons. It had a short, pointed tail, a bulky body, column-like legs with hoof-like claws, and a bony, scalloped neck frill rimmed with bony points. It had a parrot-like beak, many cheek teeth, and powerful jaws. Pentaceratops hatched from eggs.
WHEN PENTACERATOPS LIVED
Pentaceratops lived in the late Cretaceous period, about 75 to 65 million years ago, toward the end of the Mesozoic, the Age of Reptiles. It was among the last of the dinosaur species to evolve before the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction 65 million years ago. Among the contemporaries of Pentaceratops were Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus rex, Ankylosaurus (an armored herbivore), Corythosaurus (a crested dinosaur), and Dryptosaurus (a leaping dinosaur).
Pentaceratops was probably a herding animal, like the other Ceratopsians.
Pentaceratops hatched from eggs, which may have been cared for by adults.
When threatened by predators, Pentaceratops probably charged into its enemy like the modern-day rhinoceros does. This was probably a very effective defense.
Pentaceratops was a ceratopsian, whose intelligence (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ) was intermediate among the dinosaurs.
Pentaceratops was an herbivore, a plant eater. It probably ate cycads, palms, and other prehistoric plants with its tough, toothless beak. It could also chew well with its cheek teeth (like other Ceratopsians, but unlike most other dinosaurs).
Pentaceratops was a quadruped; it walked on four short legs.
DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Pentaceratops fossils have been found in New Mexico, USA. It was named by paleontologist Henry F. Osborn in 1923. A total of 9 skulls have been found together with some skeletons.
Pentaceratops belonged to the:
- Order Ornithischia dinosaur - bird-hipped, herbivorous dinosaurs
- Suborder Ceratopsia - large, horned, herding herbivores. The ceratopsians were one of the last major group of dinosaurs to evolve, and include Psittacosaurus, Leptoceratops, Pachyrhinosaurus, Montanoceratops, Chasmosaurus, Centrosaurus, Triceratops, Styracosaurus, Protoceratops, and others.
- Family Ceratopsidae -
- Genus Pentaceratops
- The type species is P. sternbergii.
A Pentaceratops Printout
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