Triceratops never existed? Say it ain't so!
Two scientists at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana are challenging long-held views about triceratops, the three-horned dinosaur that has enchanted kids since the Cretaceous era. John Scannella and Jack Horner say the iconic dino is really just an immature version of the torosaurus, according to NewScientist.
Both triceratops and torosaurus (Yale's Peabody Museum has an interesting slide show on the reconstruction of this beast) had three horns and a large neck frill, the NewScientist article notes. Scannella and Horner say that as the animal aged, its horns changed shape and orientation and its frill became longer, thinner and less jagged.
OK, that's fine scientific theory. But for people like me, who grew up reading Oliver Butterworth's "The Enormous Egg," it's heresy. I loved the story about Nate Twitchell, who comes across a giant egg and watches it hatch into a baby triceratops that he names Uncle Beazley. That book helped spark an interest in dinosaurs -- and science -- that has endured for me. It's truly depressing to hear that dear, old triceratops may be on its way to a scientist-imposed extinction.