Scientists claim: The horniest dinosaurs were the sexiest

For the study, the researchers analyzed 37 specimens of Protoceratops andrewsi of all ages. The sheep-sized ceratopsian frilled dinosaur belongs to the same group as the triceratops.

They found that the dinosaurs’ frills grew disproportionately larger to their bodies and wider as they got older, suggesting the frills served a function only adults would need — such as signaling to a mate.

“Palaeontologists have long suspected that many of the strange features we see in dinosaurs were linked to sexual display and social dominance, but this is very hard to show,” lead author David Hone noted in a release. “The growth pattern we see in Protoceratops matches that seen for signaling structures in numerous different living species and forms a coherent pattern from very young animals right through to large adults.”