McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Mon, 07/15/2024 - 16:07

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

Historic representations of Triceratops

Palaeontologists are able to infer an extraordinary amount of detail about what dinosaurs looked like from fossils. Grooves over the surface of a Triceratops’ skull show where blood vessels and muscles ran between two hard layers, bone on one side and a tough layer of keratin on the other. Keratin is a tissue still common in animals today – it’s found in our own fingernails and the beaks of birds.

But what colour was Triceratops? Colour is not preserved in the fossil record so we’ll probably never know. Triceratops could have been greeny-brown for camouflage, fiery red to frighten predators, or, for all we know, a multi-coloured clown of the dinosaur world.

Over the years, various artists have come up with their own visions of what Triceratops might have looked like. Here are just a few examples:

“Triceratops” by F. John from Tiere der Urwelt (Creatures of the Primitive World), Germany, published 1902-1906.

Plate XI and cover from the 1897 book, Extinct Monsters: A Popular account of some of the larger forms of ancient animal life by Rev. H.N. Hutchinson with illustrations by J. Smit and others.

Oil painting from 1901 by Charles R. Knight in the Smithsonian Institute, NMNH Paleobiology, United States

Illustration by Charles R. Knight from the 1904 book Animals of the Past

Land Acknowledgement

McGill University is on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. We acknowledge and thank the diverse Indigenous peoples whose presence marks this territory on which peoples of the world now gather.

The Redpath Museum's director EDI statement.

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