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Triceratops skull
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Two dinosaur skulls have fetched top prices at an auction in New York.
A giant 65-million-year-old Triceratops skull sold at Bonhams' Natural History auction for $242,000 (£148,000).
A skull from a cousin of the T. rex, the Alioramus remotus, went for $206,000 (£126,000). Both sold for almost double the original estimates.
The auction house would not reveal the buyers, but said the bones could end up as home ornaments.

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RE: Baby Triceratops
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Until now, Triceratops was thought to be unusual among its ceratopsid relatives. While many ceratopsids - a common group of herbivorous dinosaurs that lived toward the end of the Cretaceous-have been found in enormous bonebed deposits of multiple individuals, all known Triceratops (over 50 in total) fossils have been solitary individuals. But a new discovery of a jumble of at least three juveniles the badlands of the north-central United States suggests that the three-horned dinosaurs were not only social animals, but may have exhibited unique gregarious groupings of juveniles.

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Because nobody was around to witness their use, the functions of the impressive horns and frill of the familiar dinosaur triceratops have been a matter of speculation.
But a new study, conducted in part by a student at the School of Veterinary Medicine, reveals that the beast routinely used its horns in combat with rival triceratops, much as contemporary animals like deer and moose lock horns in violent competition for mates.


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Triceratops
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In a study published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, researchers conjecture that the three horns of Triceratops were often used for fighting--because museum specimens show much more scarring than in the horns of a related species.

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Psittacosaurus
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The fossilised remains of six infant dinosaurs that died in a volcanic mudflow have been found in China.
Researchers say the animals were less than four years old, and probably formed a "creche" composed of babies from at least two different clutches.
The Psittacosaurus discovery indicates the animals had started forming social groups much earlier than previously thought

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A dinosaur crèche has been found entombed in the volcanic debris that engulfed it on a hillside 123 million years ago. Six young Psittacosaurus, all less than three years old, died side by side.
The fossilised remains were found together at a site in China show these animals had started forming social groups much earlier than previously thought.
The find sheds light on the life of the beaked dinosaur Psittacosaurus and on the origins of social behaviour in its descendents, including the horned Triceratops.

"We don't know very much about the early behaviour of dinosaurs in general. This discovery shows the early relatives were already social and living in groups" - Paul Barrett, a palaeontologist at Britain's Natural History Museum, who led the study.

The international team, which published its findings in this month's Palaeontology journal, found the remains in the Yixian Formation, an area in northeast China rich in fossils of primitive mammals, birds and feathered dinosaurs.
Psittacosaurus was a small herbivore that lived in China, Mongolia, Siberia and Thailand about 130 million to 100 million years ago. It was an early relative of Triceratops and Protoceratops.
The baby dinosaurs were probably killed in a volcanic mudflow, but the way the researchers discovered them, lying side by side, indicates they lived in a herd.

"These animals had left the nest and were already hanging out with each other. It used to be thought that social behaviour only occurred when these animals had their horns and frills. Now we know that they are incidental to it and that the social behaviour comes before them" - Paul Barrett.

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Albertaceratops nesmoi
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A scientist at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has announced the discovery of a new horned dinosaur, named Albertaceratops nesmoi, approximately 20 feet long and weighing nearly one half ton, or the weight of a pickup truck. The newly identified plant-eating dinosaur lived nearly 78 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period in what is now southernmost Alberta, Canada. Its identification marks the discovery of a new genus and species and sheds exciting new light on the evolutionary history of the Ceratopsidae dinosaur family. Only one other horned dinosaur has been discovered in Canada since the 1950s.

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RE: Baby Triceratops
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A team of researchers from Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies have unearthed a rare skull and frill from a baby Triceratops discovered near Jordan.

Found just last week, the fossil is only the third of its kind to be discovered and is from an animal that died approximately 65 million years ago. Scientists say the find is important because it allows them to delve deeper into the lives of dinosaurs and learn about their growth.
Sonja Scarff, an MSU undergraduate student, found the specimen in Eastern Montana's Hell Creek Formation. She was part of a field crew under the direction of Jack Horner, curator of palaeontology at the Museum of the Rockies.
Horner says he is thrilled about the new discovery, which he believes it is more rewarding than finding a Tyrannosaurus rex because baby Triceratops are so rare.

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With its big, hockey puck-sized eyes, shortened face and nubby horns, it was probably as cute as a button - at least to its mother, a three-horned dinosaur called Triceratops that could weigh as much as 10 tons and had one of the largest skulls of any land animal on the planet.

Visitors to the University of California, Berkeley's Valley Life Sciences Building now can judge for themselves. A cast of the foot-long skull from the youngest Triceratops fossil ever found is on display in the building's Marion Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library. The actual skull, also at UC Berkeley and in fragments, is described by campus palaeontologist Mark Goodwin in the March issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Palaeontology.
Mounted in the library's entryway, the diminutive skull, likely from a year-old, metre-long baby, is dwarfed by the two metre-long skull of a mature Triceratops. Standing menacingly outside the library's doors is a life-size cast of Triceratops' nemesis, Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Despite the pup's size, its remains are telling Goodwin a lot about how dinosaurs grew, the purpose of their head ornaments and the characteristics of their ancestors. In particular, since the horns and frill are present from a very early age, it is unlikely they were used exclusively for sexual display.

"The baby Triceratops confirmed our argument that the horns and frill of the skull likely had another function other than sexual display or competition with rivals, which people have often argued, and allows us to propose that they were just as important for species recognition and visual communication in these animals" - Mark Goodwin.

Triceratops horridus was a strictly North American dinosaur, though ceratopsian relatives with different but equally formidable ornamentation roamed China and Mongolia during the Cretaceous period, 65-144 million years ago. Adult Triceratops could be nearly 3 metres tall and 8 metres long, with a bony frill around the head that was as wide as two metres across. Two metre-long horns typically curved forward from the brow, while a third horn erupted from the nose above a narrow, horny beak.

This cast of the Triceratops skull shows characteristics — a shortened face and big eyes — that have made babies lovable throughout the ages. The sprouting horns grow to one metre in the adult, while the scalloped edges of the frill, which can grow to two metres across, become wavier and develop scales.
(Photo by Mark Goodwin, UC Berkeley Museum of Palaeontology)



The baby's skull, along with a few vertebrae, teeth and bony tendons, were discovered by amateur fossil hunter Harley Garbani in 1997 in Montana's Hell Creek Formation, the source of many Triceratops and T. rex fossils. Garbani thought he'd found the skull of a dome-headed dinosaur, or pachycephalosaur, and sent Goodwin a photo of the bones he had reconstructed from hundreds of fragments. But Goodwin immediately recognized the bones that make up the frill around the back of the head as those of a very young Triceratops and assembled them into a skull and lower jaw that is missing only the nose and beak.
The fossil has been a unique addition to the world's existing, mostly adult specimens of Triceratops. And the "yearling," as Goodwin called it, fits perfectly into a study he is conducting with Jack Horner of Montana State University about the growth patterns of Triceratops and other dinosaurs.
Although Goodwin's conclusions about the lifelong growth of Triceratops will be published later this year, the baby skull offers its own insights. For one, the surface of the skull shows grooves were blood vessels used to be, evidently to nourish a fingernail-hard covering of keratin that was similar to the thicker layer that covered the adult skull. Such horny coverings are often brightly coloured in the living descendents of dinosaurs - the birds - suggesting that adult Triceratops and their young may have been colourful, too.
In addition, the scalloped edges of the baby's frill became mere wavy edges in the adults, although the scallops foreshadowed the development of triangular scales along the edge of the adult frill, probably an attribute of sexual maturity. The two brow horns started out straight and short in the baby - they're about 2.5 centimetres long - but ended up long and curved forward in the adult, while the nose horn became larger, like that of a rhinoceros, although it was made of bone in Triceratops.

The brain case of the baby also changed significantly. Hidden beneath the boney frills of the skull, the hazelnut-sized brain of the baby fit snuggly within protective bones not yet fused, so as to allow further brain growth. In the adult, the brain, about the shape and size of a small sweet potato, was completely encased in fused bone. The relative position of the bones of the braincase as the animal matured recapitulates the cranial evolution of Triceratops from a more basal ancestor, such as Protoceratops.

"The baby skull shows us how the bones that make up the skull actually grew and fit together, because we see the sutures and sutural surfaces, which were completely obliterated in the adults" - Mark Goodwin.

Because of the good condition of the bones, which show no gnawing, Goodwin thinks the baby died and the skull was buried before it could be scavenged or the bones eroded away along an ancient stream.

"It's an incredible specimen, with beautiful preservation," - Mark Goodwin.

Goodwin and Horner also have made casts of the skull for the American Museum of Natural History and for Montana's Museum of the Rockies.
Goodwin continues his excavations in Montana, concentrating on the dinosaurs of the Lower Hell Creek Formation that are slightly older than the T. Rex and Triceratops fossils from the Upper Hell Creek Formation. His co-authors on the new paper are William A. Clemens, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology and Museum of Palaeontology emeritus curator who opened up the Montana area for fossil exploration more than 30 years ago; field colleague Horner of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman; and Kevin Padian, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology and Museum of Palaeontology curator.

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