Protoceratops Facts & Info
The Discovery of the Protoceratops
Facts on the Protoceratops
1. Protoceratops means ‘first horned face’
2. Its average size was about 1.8 meters long and 1 meters high
3. The average weight of the dinosaur was 400kg (900 pounds)
4. Protoceratops belonged to the group of Ceratopsians (Ceratopians)
5. It was a herbivore and ate tough leaves and plants
6. It lived around 110 – 66 million years ago in Mongolia in the Cretaceous period
The expedition in 1922 led by Roy Chapman Andrews in the Gobi Desert, in Mongolia was an extraordinary one. Even the Protoceratops’ nests which were unearthed with eggs in them were a remarkable discovery by Andrews. The discovery proved for the first time that dinosaurs laid eggs. As many as 30 eggs were found in one nest. It is unlikely that one female Protoceratops laid so many eggs at once. Experts believe that two or more females may have shared the same nest.
The skeleton fossils of Protoceratops found in Mongolia range from tiny ones still inside the eggs to small babies and fully grown adults. Some of the adults were slightly different in size because they had different shaped frills and other features may also vary. Experts think that this may be because the males were bigger with larger heads, frills and crests than the females.
Protoceratops had to guard its nests against predators such as the Oviraptor, which means ‘egg-stealer’. Dinosaur eggs would have made an ideal meal for it. A fossilized Oviraptor skeleton, with its skull smashed in, was found above a nest of Protoceratops’ eggs. Perhaps an angry mother Protoceratops had killed it when it attempted to steal the nest.