Protoceratops Dinosaur Facts

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Names   >   Protoceratops
Dinosaur Jungle   >   Dinosaur Types   >   Protoceratops



dinosaur picture protoceratops

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Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Sauropsida
  Superorder Dinosauria
  Order Ornithischia
  Suborder Cerapoda
  (unranked) Marginocephalia
  Infraorder Ceratopsia
  Family Protoceratopsidae
  Genus Protoceratops
Protoceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived in Mongolia, during the late Cretaceous period, about 85 to 80 million years ago.

Protoceratops was up to 9 feet (2.7 meters) long, although the average adult was about 6½ feet (2 meters) long.

Although Protoceratops did not have horns, there was a prominent bump in the middle of its snout, which seems larger in older males, and may have been used in ritual fights for mates.

Protoceratops probably spent most of its life on all fours, but as its hind legs were longer than its front legs, most likely could also walk upright on its rear legs.

The eggs and nests of Protoceratops were the first dinosaur eggs and nests discovered. The nests were dug in sand and contained up to 18 eggs, carefully laid in spirals, each egg being 8 inches (20 centimeters) long.

It is possible that the fossilized skeletons of Protoceratops (and perhaps other beaked dinosaurs) may have inspired the legend of the griffin. The griffin was said to be mythical creature with the body of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle, that often guarded gold deposits. The theory, proposed by Adrienne Mayor of Stanford is that the fossilized skeletons were found by Saka-Scythian nomads who are known to have mined gold in Tien Shan and Altai Mountains of Central Asia, and that they passed on the myth to the ancient Persians, Greeks and Romans.

Greek drinking horn (rhyton) in the shape of a griffin, c.350 BCE:
Greek drinking horn (rhyton) in the shape of a griffin, c.350 BCE


Protoceratops Timeline:

Protoceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 85 to 80 million years ago

Protoceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater) that lived from 85 to 80 million years ago

Related Information & Resources

Related Web Sites
  • Protoceratops - A Cretaceous herbivore with a beak and neck frill
See Also

Protoceratops Facts

Here is a summary of some of the key facts about Protoceratops:
  1. Protoceratops was a genus of dinosaur.

  2. "Protoceratops" means "first horned face" (recognizing the fact it was one of the earliest ceatopsian dinosaurs with many primitive features).

  3. Protoceratops was a member of the Ornithischia ("bird-hipped") order of dinosaurs. What this means, is that although Protoceratops was not closely related to birds, it did have similarly shaped pelvic bones.

  4. Protoceratops was a Ceratopsian - a member of a group of related herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs with beaks, many of which had neck frills and horns as well.

  5. Protoceratops lived between about 85 million years ago and 80 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous period.

  6. Protoceratops lived in Mongolia.

  7. Protoceratops was a herbivore (plant-eater).

  8. Protoceratops was typically about 6 feet (2 meters) long, although some animals grew as long as 9 feet (2.7 meters).

  9. Protoceratops weighed about 400 pounds (181 kilograms).

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