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Protoceratops egg taxa
I am trying to assess the accuracy of one of our museum displays, which
depicts _Protoceratops_ hatching from white elongate eggs which are
approximately 10 cm (4") long and are rather smooth.
I am well aware of the oviraptorid eggs -- _Elongatoolithus_ -- which
were mistaken to be _Protoceratops_ eggs until an oviraptorid embryo was
found within one (and adult oviraptorids have been associated with these
as well). However, the eggs described above do not match the size or
texture of the _Elongatoolithus_ eggs (such as the cast I own).
The clutch of eggs in our diorama was cast from actual Mongolian
specimens recovered by the AMNH expeditions, and two hatchling
_Protoceratops_ sculptures are also part of the scene. I think that
this particular display is relatively common and that I have seen it
exhibited at other museums and in books. The eggs match the general
appearance of those referred to _Protoceratops_ at
<www.mathematical.com/dinoprotoceratops.html> (in the photo of the
inverted egg clutch) and the description and appearance of the
_Protoceratopsidovum_ eggs featured on pp. 287-288 0f Ken Carpenter's
_Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs_, which were so named by Konstantin
Mikhailov on the hypothesis that they could be referred to
_Protoceratops_. Carpenter disagrees with Mikhailov's assessment on the
basis that "the closely related _Prismatoolithus_ eggs are now known to
be theropod." Carpenter's book includes a photograph of a
_Protoceratops_ embryo on p. 213, Fig. 11.36. Has any eggshell been
associated with _Protoceratops_ embryos?
If anyone has a good idea whether the _Protoceratopsidovum_ eggs were
likely to have been produced by _Protoceratops_ or whether some other
egg type has been identified with _Protoceratops_, please let me know.
---------Ralph W. Miller III
(California Academy of Sciences docent)