| "'Ooh, ah,' that's how it always starts. But then later there's running and screaming."
This page contains spoilers from an upcoming, or newly released, installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. If you don't want spoilers, leave the page!
The Protoceratops is the first ancestor of the famous ceratopsian family to resemble the later, more famous members such as Triceratops. Roughly the size of a sheep, it was therefore much smaller than its more famous relatives but had a very successful design that lasted for many millions of years. Protoceratops didn't have horns to protect itself with, just its sharp beak to bite with.
It is a fairly common fossil, being one of the few dinosaurs that's complete growth history can be seen in fossils ranging from an infant to an adult. Like other ceratopsians, each individual shows a difference in the size and shape of its frill. Protoceratops frills were not solid and did not grow overly large. Some scientists believe that the frills may have been brightly colored for display, either to intimidate attackers or for courtship. There are some fossils of this species that show a small horn on the snout. This is thought to be a gender differentiation.
One of the most famous fossils ever found is of a Velociraptor and a Protoceratops locked in battle. They were both killed in the midst of a fight, most probably due to a sandstorm or flood. It is interesting to note that the species name, andrewsii, is for Roy Chapman Andrews. Mr. Andrews was a very adventurous fossil hunter; the movie character Indiana Jones is based on Andrews' exploits.
Protoceratops first appears in Jurassic Park: Redemption I, where it is seen in a picture in Tim Murphy's files. It later appears again in Jurassic Park: Redemption III, where it is seen as one of the dinosaurs cloned by Henry Wu for Tim's new Jurassic Park. When Tim arrived at his secret facility, L. Would told him to look at the Protoceratops, which Tim knelt next to and touched it on the head.
This Protoceratops was not involved in the incident in Glen Rose. It is unknown what happened to it after the incident, but it is likely that it was transported to either Isla Nublar or Isla Sorna with the other surviving dinosaurs, as Alan Grant suggested.
Protoceratops can be created from paleo-DNA in the game Jurassic Park III: Park Builder.