A Quick Guide About 12 Horned Dinosaurs (Not Triceratops)

a brown horned dinosaur on the ground

Source by: Nationalgeographic

It’s no new thing for animals to have horns. In fact, a wide variety of reptiles, mammals and insects have horns or similar features. Just like every other animal, dinosaurs, although extinct, had horns. They are called The Ceratopsian.

Of all the Ceratopsiana, the most famous is Triceratops, with its three horns. Triceratops is just one member of this large family of dinosaurs, each with its unique appearance. And today, more ceratopsians have been discovered in North America over the past 20 years than any other type of dinosaur.

Hence, in this article, you’ll find twelve ceratopsians that were every bit the equal of Triceratops, either in size, in ornamentation, or as subjects for research by paleontologists. Let’s talk about a ride into the world of the horned dinosaurs.


a aquilops

Source by: wikia.org

Aquilops lived around 106 million years, and as such, it was the oldest horned dinosaurs. In fact, it was a whopping 40 million years older than the iconic and famous Triceratops.

It was discovered by a group of paleontologists in 1997 but was named Aquilops americanus in 2014.

Aquilops is an early herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaur dating from the Early Cretaceous of North America.

Quite interesting, Aquilops is not at all closely related to later horned dinosaurs from North America but is most closely associated with forms that lived in Asia around the same time. This is in line with a growing body of evidence showing an exchange of animals between the two continents at that time. Aquilops was a tiny creature about 60 cm in length and its weight at 1.5 kg.

Aquilops living in the jungle

Source by: SV-POW

The rostral, the bone core of the snout beak, curves downwards and has an arched keel on its top with a bump on the front. In front of the tooth row, the upper jaw rim is over its total length concave inside view. The skull opening, the antorbital fenestra, is twice as long as tall and has a pointed rear below the eye socket.

The importance of the newly discovered, two-foot-long ​Aquilops (“eagle face”) is that it lived in middle Cretaceous North America and thus represents an essential link between early and late ceratopsian species.


a coahuilaceratop

Source by: Dinosaurpictures

Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna was closely related to Pentaceratops and was discovered in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. It had a small nasal horn, but its brow horns were massive, the largest of any known dinosaur, measuring perhaps one meter and a half.  Hence the creature’s specific name (magnacuerna means “largely horned”). Although the press initially claimed that Coahuilaceratops weighed 12 tons (twice as much as the average T-Rex!), it was around 5 tons, the size of an elephant, and measured about 7 meters long. It was described in 2010, being one of the latest additions to the ceratopsian bestiary and certainly one of the most spectacular of all dinosaurs


A Triceratops, Torosaurus and Centrosaurus dinosaur stands on the grass

Source by: Posterazzi

Centrosaurus is a genus of herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of Canada. Their remains have been found in the Dinosaur Park Formation, dating from 76.5 to 75.5 million years ago.

This 20-foot-long, three-ton (1000kg) quadripedal herbivore lived a few million years before Triceratops, and it was closely related to three other ceratopsians, Styracosaurus, Coronosaurus, and Spinops.

two centrosaurus is frighting

Source by: Wikipedia

Centrosaurus, unlike Triceratops with three horns, only had one horn on its snout. And like every other of its breed, Centrosaurus’ horn and large frill probably served dual purposes: the frill as a sexual display and (possibly) a way to dissipate heat, and the horn to head-butt other Centrosaurus, adults, during mating season and intimidate hungry raptors and tyrannosaurs.

Centrosaurus is known for literally thousands of fossils remains, making it one of the world’s best-attested horned dinosaurs.


a koreaceratops beside the water

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Koreaceratops was discovered on the west coast of the Korean peninsula in 2008 near Jeongok harbor. Early horned dinosaurs like Koreaceratops were small and likely moved on their hind legs. Their later North American relatives, like Triceratops, walked on four legs and were much larger.

The dinosaur who roamed the earth some 103 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period, has been described by some paleontologists as the world’s first identified swimming dinosaur.

Koreaceratops family with a green background 1

Source by: USKI

This description relates to the dinosaur’s “neural spines” jutting up from its tail, which would have helped propel this 25-pound ceratopsian through the water.

Koreaceratops was a herbivore, and it was reproduced by laying eggs. So far, only one specimen has been found by paleontologists. Although, recently, much more compelling evidence has been adduced for another swimming dinosaur, the much bigger (and much fiercer) Spinosaurus.


Kosmoceratops walks in a jungle 2

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With a staggering total of 15 horns and spikes on its head, ladies and gentlemen meet the horny-est dinosaur ever. It has ten horns and spikes on its frill, two horns above each eye, one horn on the tip of its nose, and one horn coming out of each cheek!

a kosmoceratops is walking in the forest

Source by: Dinosaurpictures

Kosmoceratops richardsoni means ornamented horned face (kosmos, Greek for ‘ornamented’ and ceratops, Greek for ‘horned face’).  

You might think Kosmoceratops used their elaborate horns and frills for defense, but paleontologists think their horns weren’t strong enough to be helpful weaponry; hence, it is more likely that they used them to try to attract mates, much like a male peacock tries to impress a female hen with its multi-colored display feathers.

the different between human beings and kosmoceratops

Source by: Prehistoric-wildlife

This incredible creature was about 15 feet (4.5 meters) long from the tip of its nose horn to the end of its tail.  The skull by itself is just under 6 feet (2 meters) long!  As you might have guessed from its name, Kosmoceratops is a relative of the famous Triceratop.

This dinosaur lived during the Late Cretaceous period (76 million years ago). It evolved on Laramidia, a large island of western North America that was cut off from the mainstream of ceratopsian evolution during the late Cretaceous period. Such isolation can often explain unusual evolutionary variations.


Pachyrhinosaurus stands in a woods

Source by: ArtStation

Pachyrhinosaurus is a medium-sized herbivorous ceratopsian that lived in the northern regions of North America during the Late Cretaceous. The most defining feature of the genus is the presence of a giant, bony nasal boss.

Pachyrhinosaurus Canadensis lived on the earth about some70 million years ago and was described in 1950 by Charles Mortram Sternberg.

the book about different dinosaurs

Source by: Ark.fandom

Pachyrhinosaurus is different from many of its relatives due to the bony and hard nasal boss it developed instead of a nasal or facial horn that ceratopsians are usually associated with.

Anyone who has seen the unlamented Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie will recognize this unique creature. Pachyrhinosaurus was one of the few late Cretaceous ceratopsians to lack a horn on its snout; all it had were two small, ornamental horns on either side of its enormous frill.


Pentaceratops stands on the grass 3

Source by: Superterrane

Pentaceratops was a Late Cretaceous (75 million years ago) plant-eating horned dinosaur. Pentaceratops lived alongside other dinosaurs such as the hadrosaur Parasaurolophus, the Pachycephalosauridae Sphaerotholus, et.

It had a length of about 20 feet and weighed 2-3 tons. Despite its impressive name (which means “five-horned face”), Pentaceratops only had three genuine horns, two big ones over its eyes and a smaller one perched on the end of its snout. The other two were outgrown cheekbones of the dinosaur.

the different between human beings and pentaceratops

Source by: Prehistoric-wildlife

Pentaceratops’ actual claim to fame is that it possessed one of the largest heads of the entire Mesozoic Era. And judging by its staggering 10 feet long, from the top of its frill to the tip of its nose, Pentaceratops’ head may be longer than that of the closely related Triceratops and presumably just as deadly when wielded in combat.


Protoceratops stands on the mountain 4

Source by: Facts and Pictures

Protoceratops was a quadrupedal plant-eating dinosaur with shearing and grinding teeth with a horny beak who lived during the Late Cretaceous, some 74-70 million years ago.

Protoceratops, meaning ‘first horned face,’ a mid-sized ceratopsian—not tiny like its predecessors (such as the five-pound Aquilops), or four or five tons like its North American successors, but weighed about 400kg with about 1.8m long. As such, this made the central Asian Protoceratops an ideal prey animal for the contemporary Velociraptor. In fact, paleontologists have identified a famous fossil of a Velociraptor locked in combat with a Protoceratops before a sudden sandstorm buried both dinosaurs.

the basic info about protoceratops

Source by: Britannica

It was first discovered during the 1920s, in the Gobi Desert, in Gansu, Inner Mongolia. Protoceratops had a large neck frill, which may have protected the neck, anchor jaw muscles, impressed other members of the species or combinations of these functions.


A Velociraptor is preying a Psittacosaurus

Source by: YouTube

Psittacosaurus (the “parrot lizard”) was a ceratopsian dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of what is now Asia, existing between 126 and 101 million years ago. It is notable for being the most species-rich dinosaur genus.

At 4 feet long and 2 feet tall, and a weight of 50 – 100kg, Psittacosaurus was a member of the same group as Triceratops. However, it lacked any significant horn or frill, to the extent that it took a while for paleontologists to identify it as a true ceratopsian and not an ornithischian dinosaur.

Lifelike Baby Psittacosaurus Puppet With Stripes

Source by: Onlydinosaurs

It was named for its prominent rostral bone, which formed the tip of its upper beak. The front of its jaw was used to crop vegetation before the food was chewed, swallowed, and ground between stones in its gizzard.


Styracosaurus stands in the rain 5

Source by: A Dinosaur A Day

Styracosaurus, the “spiked lizard,” had one of the most outstanding head displays of any genus of ceratopsian (horned, frilled dinosaur). It roamed the earth some 76 million years ago.

Although Styracosaurus was moderately sized, the adults could weigh close to three tons. Hence, Styracosaurus can be somewhat compared to the largest Triceratops and Titanoceratops individuals, but much bigger than its ancestors that lived tens of millions of years before.

Styracosaurus stands in a forest 6

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As with all ceratopsians, the horns and frill of Styracosaurus likely evolved as sexually selected characteristics: males with more prominent, more elaborate, more visible headgear had a better chance of intimidating their rivals in the herd and attracting available females during mating season.


Udanoceratops with a white background

Source by: Nix Draws Stuff

Udanoceratops are known from a partial skull and postcranial skeleton. These Udanoceratops, which lived 81 to 77 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous, hardly had any head frill.

The central Asian Udanoceratops was a one-ton contemporary of Protoceratops (meaning it was likely immune from the Velociraptor attacks that plagued its more famous relative). The oddest thing about this dinosaur, though, is that it may have occasionally walked on two legs, like the smaller ceratopsians that preceded it by millions of years.

It is the largest leptoceratopsid known so far. Like other leptoceratopsids, the skull had a short frill and no horns over the eyes or nose; the animal is estimated at 4 meters long.


a brown einiosaurus with a moon

Source by: Fineartamerica

Einiosaurus, discovered in 1985 and named in 1995, was a Late Cretaceous dinosaur that roamed the earth some 74 million years ago. It weighed about 1,300 kg.

Its name means “bison lizard.” Although closely related to Styracosaurus, it had a very different appearance; it had only two long, straight horns on its frill and a strange, flattened, forward-curving nasal horn that resembled a bottle opener.

Einiosaurus in a forest

Source by: Pixels

The nasal horn was probably not a very effective weapon, and the straight horns in the frill probably protected the animal from the bites of enormous carnivorous dinosaurs, preventing them from biting the neck of the back of the frill. Like Pachyrhinosaurus, Einiosaurus is known to have lived in large herds. Its remains have been found in Montana.


Green Animatronic Styracosaurus For Event 7

Source by: Onlydinosaurs

That’s where we draw the curtain on the shortlist of 12 famous horned dinosaurs that weren’t Triceratops. Of course, the list is not exhaustive. There are quite a few other discovered horned dinosaurs, and you can be sure there will be some discoveries very soon. If you are interested in these dinosaurs, maybe the blog 10 Dinosaurs with Head Crests That are Fun to Learn About is also a good choice. We hope you have learned one or two things.

More so, we have animatronic dinosaurs of the discussed dinosaurs and even more. And also, we have the dinosaur puppets of these dinosaurs too. Do well to check them out.

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