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Definition of PROTOCERATOPS
: any of a genus (Protoceratops) of small herbivorous ceratopsian dinosaurs of the late Cretaceous that lacked horns
Origin of PROTOCERATOPS
New Latin, from prot- + Ceratops, a genus — more at ceratopsian
First Known Use: 1979
Any member of a genus of quadrupedal dinosaurs found as fossils in Gobi deposits of the Cretaceous period (144–65 million years ago). The hind limbs were more strongly developed than the forelimbs; the back was arched. Adults were about 7 ft (2 m) long and probably weighed about 400 lbs (180 kg). The skull was about one-fifth the body length. Bones in the skull grew backward into a perforated frill. The jaws were beaklike and toothed. There may have been a hornlike structure on top of the snout. Long spines on the well-developed tail suggest that protoceratops was semiaquatic.