Meet Big John – the largest Triceratops skeleton ever found. 🤩

He lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, around 100-66 million years ago.

Triceratops (tri-sera-tops) is the most well-known of the ceratopsian dinosaurs.

Ceratopsians were herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs with beaks. They grazed in large herds together, where Big John would have been a giant among giants. 😵


Big John’s skeleton is about 60% complete. It measures 7.15 m (23 ft 5 in)  long from snout to tail tip – almost twice the length of a white rhino! 🦏

It stands 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in) tall measured at the hips. 

Big John has a huge head too. The reconstructed skull is about 75% complete. It’s 2 m (6 ft 6 in) wide and 1.55 m (5 ft 1 in) long💀

Did you know? 🤔
The name Triceratops means 'three-horned face'. 👿

Each of Big John's brow horns measures 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in), longer than a field hockey stick!

All three of Big John’s horns are in fairly good condition, with the two big brow horns each measuring 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in)😲

According to scientists, Big John’s skull is 5–10% larger than that of any other Triceratops we’ve ever found.

"Over the years I have looked at lots of Triceratops fossils, but this is unquestionably the largest Triceratops skull I have ever seen." - Professor Philip Currie, Guinness World Records Dinosaur Expert

Big John with his GWR certificate, presented by natural history and fossil expert Iacopo Briano in Paris

Big John was dug up in the USA, but he’s been doing some travelling recently. ✈️🌎

His skeleton was put back together by experts in Italy and then he was put on display in Paris, France, where he has become quite popular. 😍

 “We need to clean windows at the gallery several times every day – kids literally smear against the glass with a big ‘Wooooooow’!” said Iacopo Briano, who is looking after Big John before he is sold at auction.

"Everyone is slightly shocked at first – the term ‘speechless’ would be most appropriate."

Did you know? 🤔
Triceratops weighed around 14 tonnes. That’s more than three African elephants! 🐘🐘🐘

Big John on display in Trieste, Italy, where the skeleton was reconstructed

Big John is due to be sold on 21 October at an auction in Paris. He’s expected to cost at least £1 million ($1.4 m; €1.2 m)! 💰

The most expensive dinosaur bones sold at auction were those of a T. rex skeleton – nicknamed “Stan” – which sold for £24.57 m ($31.84 m; €27.08 m) on 6 Oct 2020. 🦖

Scotty, one of the largest T. rex specimens ever unearthed

Big John was discovered in the Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota, USA, in 2014 by geologist Walter Stein. It took two years to carefully dig him out! 🦴️

Hell Creek is a hotspot for Late Cretaceous dinosaur remains, with several other record-breaking finds made here:

  • Most complete Tyrannosaurus rex  – a 4-m-tall (13-ft), 12.5-m-long (41-ft) 90%-complete skeleton nicknamed “Sue”, after Sue Hendrickson who found the bones in 1990. 
  • Largest known T. rex specimen – a record also held by Sue for many years. But in 2019, a Canadian contender for this title, named “Scotty”, stomped onto the scene. Because the two T. rexes are so similarly sized, it was decided that they should share the record. 
  • Largest carnivore coprolite – a huge fossilized poop measuring 67.5 cm (2 ft 2.25 in) long, which most likely came from a T. rex. The mega-poop was named Barnum by coprolite collector George Frandsen (USA).

Check out George's largest collection of coprolites in this video 👇💩👇

In the new Guinness World Records 2022 book, the Triceratops is one of six record-breaking dinosaurs you can virtually resurrect via augmented reality (AR). Flip to page 40 to find out how!