With a bony collar measuring 2 × 2.62 meters (6.5 x 8.5 ft), “Big John” by name was Big John by nature, being one of the largest specimens identified in the Hell Creek Formation and the largest triceratops ever discovered to date. His skeletal remains come from the Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago, but they have provided new insights into triceratops’ combative lifestyle in a recent article. According to a new research published in Scientific Reports, Big John’s collar injuries might have been caused by a struggle with another triceratops. The damage experienced in this prehistoric battle resulted in a fenestra, a keyhole-shaped puncture.
There were symptoms of plaque-like bone deposits around the hole, which the authors of the current report believe occurred as a result of inflammation, maybe caused by an infection. This type of wound healing irregularity is linked to bone damage. They chose to investigate further by studying samples retrieved from the fossilized remnants, including bone pieces from the fenestra. The bone was found to be very porous and to have a large number of blood vessels, all of which indicate that it was freshly developed in comparison to the rest of Big John’s collar.
On the bone samples, there were also little pits called Howship lacunae, which indicate that remodeling is taking place. This evidence of inflammation and remodeling, taken together, suggests that the injury was caused by battle and then healed. Huge John’s big collar was likely ruptured during a struggle with another triceratops, whose horn wounded the dinosaur, according to the researchers. Because triceratops’ massive bone collars are thought to have had a defensive function for these creatures, they would have been a common site for catastrophic damage.
The triceratops Fight Club, on the other hand, was not lethal for Big John and occurred around six months before its death. This estimate is based on the presence of inflammation and remodeling surrounding the injury site, indicating that the dinosaur lived for a long period after the accident. Surprisingly, the healing mechanism appears to be very similar to that of existing animals. We may not have been massive, armored, and terrifying monsters, but we may have shared a complicated, messy process of mending with the dinosaurs. Something to keep in mind the next time you step off a curb and roll your ankle.