A pair of Torosaurus dinosaurs, that are now thought to be a form of triceratops

Horned dinosaurs

Speculation continues over the function of the wicked looking horns and grand neck frill of the larger ceratopsians such as Triceratops. Were they for protection, display or even to control body temperature? The earliest horned dinosaurs were quite small and got about on two legs. The four legged giants that characterise the group came later. Fossil evidence suggests horned dinosaurs originated in what's now Asia during the Cretaceous period, spreading out and thriving as herbivores. Many of the species are recognised from their skulls, which seem to be the part of a ceratopsian skeleton most likely to be preserved.

Scientific name: Ceratopsia

Rank: Infraorder

Common names:

horn face

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Cretaceous period Cretaceous period
The Cretaceous ended with the most famous mass extinction in history - the one that killed the dinosaurs. Prior to that, it was a warm period with no ice caps at the poles.

What killed them

Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction - also known as the K/T extinction - is famed for the death of the dinosaurs. However, many other organisms perished at the end of the Cretaceous including the ammonites, many flowering plants and the last of the pterosaurs.

BBC News about Horned dinosaurs

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