After John B. Scanella and John R. Horner of Montana State University published a report in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in July stating Triceratops and fellow horned dinosaur Torosaurus were in fact the same animal, news outlets including The National Post and CBS News reported that Triceratops may never have existed, saying the animal was simply a younger version of the large-headed Torosaurus.
Not the case, says professor and Mesalands Dinosaur Museum curator Axel Hungerbeuhler. In fact, the report makes the opposite claim that Torosaurus is an older form of Triceratops.
“We don’t need to change our label because Triceratops stays Triceratops. It’s Torosaurus that will change, if it’s accepted, to Triceratops,” Hungerbueler said. “It’s a very old Triceratops. Triceratops stays Triceratops, so that name doesn’t change at all.”
According to the report, Torosaurus is distinguished from Triceratops by a single physical feature, “its expanded, fenestrated parietal-squamosal cranial frill,” the large bony, holy plate on its head.