|“||Protoceratops. Some paleontologists call these, "The Sheep of the Cretaceous."||„|
|— Allen, describing Protoceratops|
Protoceratops (name meaning "First-Horned Face") is a genus of sheep-sized ceratopsian dinosaur that originated during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Asia. Around 2 meters in length and 600 pounds, it is a more primitive relation of the larger and more famous Triceratops.
In the episode "The Giant Claw", a number of seven Protoceratops were brought back to the park from Late Cretaceous Mongolia 80 million years ago. They reside in a desert/forest enclosure in the Ceratopsian Grassland exhibit of the park.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Protoceratops lived in prehistoric Mongolia during the Late Cretaceous period from 80–65 million years ago. They shared their environment with dinosaurs like Saurolophus, Velociraptor, Mononykus, Therizinosaurus, and Tarbosaurus.
Among the first members of the ceratopsian dinosaur family (hence their name), Protoceratops were also very common during their time in the Mongolian desert. Some paleontologists today described them as "The Sheep of the Cretaceous." Protoceratops was first discovered in Mongolia in 1923 by Walter W. Granger and W.K. Gregory.
Although these were relatively small herbivores compared to a majority of other dinosaurs, a fully grown Protoceratops was roughly about the size of a sheep, measuring around 6–7 feet (2–2.2 m) long, standing 3–4 feet (1–1.3 m) tall at the hips, and weighing as much as 600 lbs. (272 kg). They are brownish-green in color. They have a large neck frill, and scientists think it may be to impress other members of the species, or used as a "built-in weapon". But, due to the dinosaurs fragile jaw build, this was unlikely.
Its forelimbs were shorter than its hind limbs. It also had a short tail and a large head with a small frill They also possessed very strong, formidable, sharp, and powerful beaks with sharp teeth. A strike from their beaks possessed enough force to snap the limbs of any animal similar in size to Protoceratops and probably even humans.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Protoceratops not only lived in herds like many plant-eaters, which their numbers were sometimes small, but they also lived in huge nesting colonies. They were also often solitary creatures as well and also lived in small groups. Protoceratops often clashed for territory with each other and were rather belligerent but are also described as being just as docile as sheep.
- Protoceratops was the first and smallest ceratopsian to be brought to the park.
- The sound effects of Protoceratops are that of moose, lamb, altered sheep, warthog, rhino and horse sounds.