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Whilst trawling our extensive database of dinosaur images on a hunt for pictures of Triassic invertebrates, we came across a rather magnificent illustration of the Late Cretaceous, North American ceratopsid Torosaurus (T. latus), by the celebrated palaeoartist Sergey Krasovskiy. The illustration had been used previously in a story about a horned dinosaur discovery from Colorado that had been thought to represent a Triceratops, but when more of the fossil material emerged, the specimen was identified as a much rarer Torosaurus latus.
The Illustration of the Ceratopsid Torosaurus (T. latus)
Picture Credit: Sergey Krasovskiy
Known from fossil material found in western North America (as far south as Texas and as far north as Saskatchewan in Canada), Torosaurus was one of the larger horned dinosaur inhabitants of the Maastrichtian faunal stage of the Late Cretaceous. The absence of juveniles in the fossil record and its close relationship to Triceratops led to the hypothesis that Torosaurus was not a valid genus at all, the fossils represented very old individuals of the Triceratops genus.
To read an article from 2010 that discusses this theory: The Extinction of Torosaurus – Second Time Around.
The taxonomic relationship between Triceratops and Torosaurus is still debated. Research is on-going and the picture has been somewhat complicated when Nedoceratops (N. hatcheri) is added to the mix. Nedoceratops is known from a single skull specimen found in Wyoming. Some palaeontologists think that it is a valid genus, whilst others consider it nomen dubium, as the fossil might represent a growth stage of Triceratops. If this is proved to be the case (more fossil finds of Late Cretaceous members of the tribe Triceratopsini are required), then Nedoceratops will probably become a synonym of “three-horned face”. This in itself could be controversial as Nedoceratops was formally named and described in 1868, whilst the first Triceratops species (T. horridus) was actually named twenty-one years later (1889).
The CollectA Torosaurus Dinosaur Model
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur