Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Drunk on Paleontology - Tricerahops Double IPA

The next Drunk on Geology is for Tricerahops Double IPA from the Ninkasi Brewing Company out of Eugene, OR.

Although, obviously named for the dinosaur Triceratops, the Ninkasi website also states that this beer, along with three others, are part of a comic series produced by Dark Horse Comics called Legend of Ninkasi: Rise of Craft.

And according to their comic lore:
Legend has it that Tricerahops, loyal companion to the goddess Ninkasi, acquires his abilities from the goddess’ mystical hops. While our brewery is working on propagating these hops for the good of all, we brewed this Double IPA to showcase all that’s possible. Its floral aromas collide with a splendor of resinous hop notes to create a beer suitable for a magical beast like Tricerahops himself.

Triceratops horridus skeleton and cast from the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. 

The first discovery of  material attributed to Triceratops, was in 1887 by George Lyman Cannon near Denver, Colorado, who had found a set of the brow horns attached to a skull roof. He sent the material to O.C. Marsh who, assuming the rock dates were Pliocene, determined that it was from a prehistoric bison, which he named Bison alticornis. However after a more complete specimen was discovered in 1888 from Wyoming's Lance Formation by John Bell Hatcher, as well as a couple of other discoveries, Marsh reevaluated the initial find and eventually added all the finds under a new species, Triceratops, which he named in 1889, meaning "three-horned face". 

The side of the Tricerahops box notes:
This is our monument to the big and beautiful beasts that came before us. Tricerahops is an ancient field of floral hops with a deep, earthy taste and a balanced finish.
Triceratops belongs to a group of animals known as ceratopsians.

Ceratopsian wall at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Triceratops is the one located in the far right at the top.

Ceratopsians were prolific during the Cretaceous, with many different varieties evolving with various numbers of horns and frill adornments. Triceratops was one of the last ceratopsians to have evolved with remains having been found in rocks dating from ~69 million years ago to the end of the dinosaurs ~66 million years ago. It is estimated that Triceratops could grow up to 30 feet in length and weigh 12,000-16,000 pounds. There are currently two recognized species of Triceratops, T. horridus (pictured above in Chicago) and T. prorsus

The skull of Triceratops is one of the largest skulls ever discovered, approaching 10 feet in length in some individuals and not only had the three primary horns (one above each eye and one on the snout), it also had a series of spikes along the edge of the frill known as epoccipitals, and hornlike projects on the jugals (cheekbones). The horns are thought to serve multiple functions, such as defense from predators as well mating display structures. 

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