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a plant-eating chasmosaurine ceratopsian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America.
Pronunciation: TOR-o-SOR-us
Meaning: Perforated Lizard
Author/s: Marsh (1891)
Synonyms: Arrhinoceratops? utahensis
First Discovery: Wyoming, USA
Chart Position: 54

Torosaurus latus

Torosaurus is a chasmosaurine ceratopsid ceratopsian—the deep-snouted, horn-faced branch of herbivorous Late Cretaceous behemoths that were previously known as ceratopsines—and with a skull up to 2.6 meters long thanks to an enormous bony frill it was a real big head, not just amongst its kind but amongst all land-dwelling creatures that have ever lived.

Its huge frill had two large, name-prompting holes (fenestrae) though they were covered with skin and really quite fetching when flushed with blood - just the job for attracting the opposite sex or telling rivals you're better than they are, while the frill itself could have been a kind of Cretaceous solar panel for catching rays to warm its seven ton body, or just a shield for self-defence. Whatever its function, it, and the creature to which it was attached, has attracted much speculation down the years, and for as long as we can remember paleontologists have been doubting whether Torosaurus is a bona fide dinosaur worthy of its own name or just a fully grown version of another, more famous ceratopsian; Triceratops.
Torosaurus is derived from the Greek "toreo" (perforate), a reference to the huge windows in its frill, and "sauros" (lizard). Some sources list the meaning as "Bull lizard" on the assumption that the name has something to do with the Greek "Tauros", but that's bull. The species epithet, latus, means "broad" or "wide" in Latin.
The first fossils of Torosaurus were discovered at Lightning Creek (YPM 1830) in the Lance Formation of Niobrara County, Wyoming, USA, by John Bell Hatcher in 1891. The holotype (YPM 1830) is a skull.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-66 mya
Est. max. length: 8 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2.4 meters
Est. max. weight: 7 tons
Diet: Herbivore
Other species
Torosaurus gladius is based on a skull (YPM 1831) found at "the divide between Cow & Lightning Creeks" in the Lance Formation of Niobrara County, Wyoming, which turned out to belong to Torosaurus latus.
A fragment of frill (USNM 15583) found by G.B Pearce in the North Horn Formation of Utah's Emery County was initially assigned to Arrhinoceratops as Arrhinoceratops utahensis by Gilmore in 1946 albeit with some reservations, but was moved to Torosaurus as Torosaurus utahensis by Douglas A. Lawson in 1976. Copious remains have been assigned here since but it may be a species of Arrhinoceratops after all, or perhaps an entirely new critter.
• O.C. Marsh (1891) "Notice of new vertebrate fossils".
• Dodson P. (1996) "The Horned Dinosaurs: a Natural History".
• Sullivan R.M., Boere A.C., Lucas S.G. (2004) "Redescription of the ceratopsid dinosaur Torosaurus utahensis and a revision of the genus".
• Farke A.A. (2006) "Cranial osteology and phylogenetic relationships of the chasmosaurine ceratopsid Torosaurus latus" in K. Carpenter's "Horns and Beaks: Ceratopsian and Ornithopod Dinosaurs (Life of the Past)".
• Hunt R.K. and Lehman T.M. (2008) "Attributes of the ceratopsian dinosaur Torosaurus, and new material from the Javelina Formation (Maastrichtian) of Texas".
• Ryan M.J., Chinnery-Allgeier B. and Eberth D.A. (2010) "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium".
• Scannella J. and Horner J.R. (2010) "Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh, 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): synonymy through ontogeny".
• Farke A.A. (2011) "Anatomy and taxonomic status of the chasmosaurine ceratopsid Nedoceratops hatcheri from the Upper Cretaceous Lance Formation of Wyoming, U.S.A".
• Longrich N.R. and Field D.J. (2012) "Torosaurus is not Triceratops: ontogeny in chasmosaurine ceratopsids as a case study in dinosaur taxonomy".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "TOROSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 21st Feb 2018.