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Torosaurus horn core

Torosaurus horn core fossilTorosaurus utahensis
TMM 41835-1
Lived about 65 million years ago
Found in Big Bend National Park, Brewster County, Texas

This massive horn core belonged to Torosaurus, a very rare ceratopsian dinosaur. Ceratopsians were plant-eating dinosaurs with enormous horned and frilled skulls. The late Bob Rainey, who served as head preparator of TMM's Vertebrate Paleontology Lab, found this specimen in Big Bend National Park in 1976. Its discovery reveals that Torosaurus ranged as far south as present-day West Texas during its time on Earth.

This bone horn core is about two feet long, and supported the horn from inside. Can you see the curved eye socket at the base of the horn? Large horns and frills helped protect Torosaurus from predators like Tyrannosaurus rex. Amazingly, Torosaurus skulls have been found that measure up to nine feet from nose to frill—the largest skull of any terrestrial animal ever on Earth!