Triceratops May Have Been Sluggish: Study

Society Science Technology

Fukui, Sept. 18 (Jiji Press)--The triceratops, a three-horned herbivore dinosaur, highly likely had low agility, researchers from the Fukui Prefectural University said Friday.

The triceratops is often depicted fighting off the carnivore tyrannosaurus, but the research revealed that it was probably difficult for the herbivore to repeatedly rush at the predator.

The triceratops lived in the late Cretaceous period some 68 million to 66 million years ago. It had three large horns, and the back of its head flared out, looking like frills. Its brain size and shape were previously known, but there had been no detailed analyses of its abilities.

Rina Sakagami, a graduate student, and Soichiro Kawabe, associate professor at the Dinosaur Research Institute of the university in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, took computed tomography scans of fossils of skulls from two triceratops. Analyzing the space in the skulls for dinosaurs' brains, they recreated the brains, nervous systems, blood vessels and inner ears in 3D.

They found that the triceratops is believed to have had smaller semicircular canals, which are responsible for head movements and sense of balance, than other ceratopsids or carnivores, making it difficult for it to move its head or body swiftly.

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