"Five-Horned Face"

Pentaceratops Modell

Pentaceratops was a dinosaur that looked similar in stature to a rhinoceros (if you think about its head). 

The animal was about 6 to 7 m long and walked on four strong legs.

Pentaceratops probably had the largest known skull ever found in a land animal. Five long horns protruded from this 3-metre-long skull. One horn, which pointed upwards, protruded above its parrot-like beak. Two longer horns, which pointed forward, grew from his brows just above his eyes. He also had two horn-like extensions of his cheekbones (jugal bones), which formed the fourth and fifth horns.

The large bone plate protruding from the back of his skull (ruff) was also very impressive.

Prehistoric EraUpper Cretaceous (late Campanian to early Maastrichtian) 76-69 million years ago.
SpeciesPentaceratops sternbergii
Pentaceratops aquilonius
Height2.5 meters
Length7 - 7.5 meters
Weight5 Tons
TerritoryNorth America

Scientists speculate about the function of the horns and the large bone plate. 

They probably provided protection from predators.

But they may also have been used in mating rituals and rivalries. Whereby Pentaceratops males used their horns and collars to push against each other. Males with specially equipped horns may have been recognised as herding alphas.

Pentaceratops Skelett
Pentaceratops Fossil


Endemism is the exclusive occurrence of certain species (animals and plants) in a certain delimited geographical area.

Dinosaurs have been found in the American Southwest that have not previously been discovered further north in the Great Plains.

Therefore, it is believed that these dinosaur lineages had the ability to spread over great distances. Scientists assume that this adaptation to environmental conditions excluded competing species and that only the species mentioned below were found in this area.

Other dinosaurs found in the area where Pentaceratops was found included:

  • Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus
  • Sphaerotholus (Pachycephalosaurus)
  • Nodocephalosaurus (Panzerdinosaurier)¬†
  • Bistahieversor (Tyrannosaurus)

Image source : Nobu Tamura (, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

© Kurt McKee; Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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