Ceratopsian Bone | Wyoming
Approx. Specimen size: 3" x 2.25" x 1"
The Lance Formation was first named and officially described by John Bell Hatcher in 1903 for exposures along Lance Creek, Wyoming. Prior to this time it was simply referred to as the “ceratops beds”.
Triceratops - The most common dinosaur encountered in the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek and Lance Formation is Triceratops. This large ceratopsian reached a length of over 30 feet long and weighed up to 10 tons. It was built like a bull or rhino and had a battering ram for a skull. Like the name implies it had three horns on its face… two large (3-4 feet long at maturity) horns on its brow and one shorter one on its nose. It also had a bony frill that covered the back of its neck that may have helped protect it from attack or make it look larger to frighten its enemies. This frill may have been brightly colored or displayed a unique pattern which helped it attract mates, locate members within the herd or help scare off would be challengers. These dinosaurs had a vice like bite and powerful jaws designed for chewing on very tough vegetation. Based on a handful of bone beds where many individuals have been found (common in other ceratopsians, but rare in Triceratops), they most likely traveled in large herds in the more upland and open regions of the Hell Creek ecosystem. As of 2017, at least 300 partial skeletons and skulls have been found since its discovery in the late 1800's. They are known from at least two species: T. horridus which had a shorter more compact skull and lower, nose horn, and T. prorsus, which had a longer skull and a very large forward projecting nose horn.