|“||Some paleontologists call these guys "The Sheep of the Cretaceous."||„|
|— Allen, describing Protoceratops|
Protoceratops (name meaning "First-Horned Face") is a genus of sheep-sized ceratopsian dinosaur that lived originated during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Mongolia. Around 2 meters in length and 600 pounds, it is a more primitive relation of the larger and more famous Triceratops.
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.
They were 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 call these dinosaurs "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 7 feet (2.2 m) long, standing 3–4 feet (1–1.3 m) tall at the hips, and weighing as much as 600 pounds (272 kg). They are brownish-green in color.
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 arms or legs on any animal of similar size 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.