PENTACERATOPS (PEN-tah-SAIR-ah-tops)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Marginocephalia, Ceratopsidae

Location: North America (United States)

Length: Estimated 25 feet (7.5 meters)

Known only from the Late Cretaceous of northwestern New Mexico, Pentaceratops had one large horn on its snout, a pair of large horns above its eyes, and a pair of much smaller false horns in the cheek region. Its name means "five-horned face." The horns were actually bone.

Like other large ceratopsians, this dinosaur resembled a rhinoceros in appearance, and probably also in behavior and feeding habits. The skulls found in New Mexico were preserved with the different broad-leafed plants the animal ate. These plants resemble figs, willows, magnolias, and other types of hardwood flowering plants. Pentaceratops lived in thick forests where these plants grew.

This sturdy herbivore (plant-eater) stood eight feet tall at the shoulder. The animal was about ten feet tall from the ground to the top of the frill. Its skull was almost as long as that of Torosaurus. An adult Pentaceratops probably weighed as much as four or five tons. With the shield for protection and the horns to defend themselves, these ceratopsians had few enemies.