I Know Dino Podcast Present Notes: Protoceratops (Episode 154)

Episode 154 is all about Protoceratops, a ceratopsian whose identify means “first horned face.”

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On this episode, we talk about:


The dinosaur of the day: Protoceratops

  • Ceratopsian that lived within the Cretaceous in what’s now Mongolia
  • Identify means “first horned face”
  • Described in 1923 by Walter W. Granger and William King Gregory
  • James Blaine Shackelford, a photographer, first discovered Protoceratops within the Gobi Desert in 1922, as a part of an American expedition led by Roy Chapman Andrews in search of the ancestors of people (they didn’t discover any human fossils, however Andrews collected plenty of Protoceratops fossils (in addition to Velociraptor, Oviraptor, and Psittacosaurus)
  • Sort species is Protoceratops andrewsi
  • Species identify is in honor of Roy Chapman Andrews
  • Two species: Protoceratops andrewsi, Protoceratops hellenikorhinus
  • Protoceratops hellenikorhinus was named in 2001. It lived across the identical time and place as Protoceratops andrewsi, but it surely had a barely completely different frill, extra strong horns, and was rather a lot bigger. Additionally had two small nasal horns and no tooth on the entrance of its snout
  • Teresa Maryanska and Halszka Osmólska described one other species, Protoceratops kozlowskii in 1975, although the fossils they described have been from an incomplete juvenile, and is now considered synonymous with Bagaceratops rozhdestvenskyi
  • At first considered the “lengthy sought ancestor of Triceratops”
  • A part of Protoceratopsidae (early horned dinosaurs)
  • Had some primitive traits and was smaller than later ceratopsians
  • About 6 ft (1.8 m) lengthy
  • Adults may weigh about 400 lb (180 kg)
  • Many Protoceratops was the identical dimension as trendy sheep
  • Often known as the sheep of the Cretaceous, as a result of it was so frequent (Anthony J. Martin has referred to as them “Mesozoic Mutton”)
  • Nicholas Longrich stated that Protoceratops has typically been present in an upright place, so they might have been standing in tunnels once they died (which implies they might have burrowed); additionally would make sense for why so many Protoceratops have been discovered, being underground meant they have been much less more likely to be scavenged
  • Roy Chapman Andrews discovered fossilized eggs in Mongolia within the Twenties that have been considered Protoceratops, however turned out to be Oviraptor (talked about this in episode 78, Oviraptor, the place scientists first thought that Oviraptor ate Protoceratops eggs)
  • In 1971, a Velociraptor preventing a Protoceratops was present in Mongolia (they most likely died by a sand storm or had a sand dune collapse on high of them)
  • In 2011, a nest of 15 younger Protoceratops andrewsi was present in Mongolia (the primary Protoceratops nest discovered); exhibits that Protoceratops could have cared for his or her younger, a minimum of early on (different ceratopsians could have additionally cared for his or her younger, since Protoceratops is a basal member)
  • In all probability incubated for a minimum of 83 days, primarily based on research of the traces of progress in tooth in embryo Protoceratops andrewsi
  • Protoceratops was the primary dinosaur discovered preserved with footprints (one present in 1965 and studied in 2011), the footprint was proper underneath the skeleton
  • Quadrupedal, had a big beak, for cropping vegetation
  • Had pointy cheek bones (epijugals)
  • Had highly effective jaw muscle tissues to slice by means of crops
  • Had a big cranium
  • Had massive orbits (most likely massive eyes)
  • Had sclerotic rings within the eyes
  • Might have been cathemeral
  • Had a big neck frill, most likely used for show (may even have been to guard the neck, anchor the jaw muscle tissues, although the frill was most likely too fragile)
  • Frill had two massive holes
  • The dimensions and form of the frill differed amongst people (some had quick frills, others had frills about half the size of their skulls); probably attributable to age and sexual dimorphism
  • Might have lived in herds
  • Adrienne Mayor, a folklorist and science historian, recommended that Scythian nomads who mined gold could have discovered Protoceratops and different dinosaurs with beaks, which can have led to the parable of the griffin (lion sized, with massive claws, a beak, and laid eggs); Greek writers first described the griffin round 675 B.C. when the Greeks first got here into contact with Scythian nomads
  • Not everybody agrees, since Griffin anatomies are of recent animals (lion and eagle), there’s a variation of Griffin photographs and possibly written tales, which implies there could have been a number of origins, historic Greek writings don’t appear to have a lot reference to Protoceratops
  • Lived alongside Gallimimus, Velociraptor, Oviraptor, Tarbosaurus
  • Lived in a dry and arid habitat

Enjoyable Reality:

From “The evolution of ornithischian quadrupedality” By Paul M. Barrett, Susannah C. R. Maidment

Inside Ornithischia, quadrapedality developed a minimum of thrice: in Ceratopsia, Thyreophora, and Hadrosauriformes. Every time required main anatomical adjustments to the forelimbs, hips, and hindlimb musculature.


This episode is delivered to you partially by TRX Dinosaurs, which makes lovely and life like dinosaur sculptures, puppets, and displays. You’ll be able to see some wonderful examples and works in progress on Instagram @trxdinosaurs

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