October 6, 2022

Brighton Journal

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Scientists say Big John’s skull shows battle marks

Scientists say Big John's skull shows battle marks

D’Anastasio is an associate professor at the University of Chieti-Pescara in Italy and lead author of the new study. Posted Thursday In Scientific Reports. The study of Big John’s notable injury – a large hole punctured directly through a thickened bone – was carried out by the name Terrible Triceratops The skeleton was assembled from its fossilized parts by Zoic LLC in Trieste, Italy. Another author of the paper, Flavio Paquia, is the director of the company.

Big John holds the world record for the largest triceratops skull found so far – over 5 feet tall – and is probably among the largest of its kind. Although Triceratops were herbivores, they were also huge. An adult is estimated to be about 30 feet long and weigh more than 12 tons.

Much of this mass was in his giant head, which was studded with three large horns—two above the eyes and one on his nose—and protected by a bony frill around his neck.

Zoic specializes in rebuilding fossils, and the company purchased Big John’s skeleton in 2020 from a commercial paleontologist he found in South Dakota.

After publicity shows in Trieste and Paris, the restored skeleton was sold in October 2021 for More than 7 million dollars Triceratops fossil record – of a private owner not publicly identified.

Some fear that scientific access to the skeleton may be restricted as a result. But D’Anastasio said the new owner has stated that the three-cylinder skeleton will be available for research, and samples of its fossilized tissue are now in the university’s museum.

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The size and shape of the hole in the hem of Big John’s neck correspond exactly to that of a Triceratops horn of the same size. He said that a “combat simulation” of a Triceratops fight, conducted using plaster of horns, helped scientists better understand the event.

Examinations show the wound began to heal when Big John died, probably six months later — and although there was no evidence of any scarring, it was likely that the wound was covered in new skin, he said.

Not only will Danastasio speculate about why Big John fought another Triceratops, but he admits that he may have been more than his companions, as many birds — descendants of the dinosaurs — do today.

Some scholars suggest that the distinctive horns and neck shoulder of Triceratops may have been primarily to protect it from other Triceratops, rather than other types of dinosaurs that may have considered them food.

This means that the horns and neck of Triceratops were used “not only for display, but also as a means of attack and defense” against other members of their species, Danastasio said.

Commercial paleontologist Walter Stein said John Page’s skeleton was up to 45 percent complete and the skull up to 75 percent complete when he found it on a farm in South Dakota in 2014, with the rest long rotted. (Bone lost in the reconstruction process has been replaced with bone templates from other Triceratops skeletons.)