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MicroceratopsgobiensisFeatherTailJPL

Illustration by Feather Tail of JPLegacy

Isla Nublar

Physical CharacteristicsEdit

Length: 2.7 Feet

Height: 4.4 Feet

Weight: 4.4 Pounds


Coloration: Adult (both sexes) - dull grey with splotches of mottled greens in many shades. From the tail base to tip run white bands. The head is mostly green.

Juvenile (both sexes) – nearly all grey with very faint green hints where their future green patterns will later show.

DietEdit

Tree bark, leaves, flowers, nuts, buds and fruits. "Microceratops" has a very strong beak for eating the kernels of hard nuts and seeds. Its dry, scaly tongue has a bone inside it which makes it an effective tool for tapping into fruits. "Microceratops" will use its sharp beak to access tree sap. The dinosaur has also been known to consume invertebrates and small lizards.

Preferred HabitatEdit

Dense forests.

Social StructureEdit

"Microceratops" lives in groups dominated by an adult male and several subordinates. Females generally outnumber the males, and while a male may lead them, it is the females who choose which male to elect as their leader. Using group force, females can easily overthrow a dominant male if they feel he is not fulfilling his functions properly.

DescriptionEdit

Bipedal/ quadrupedal, arboreal herbivore, smallest dinosaur cloned by InGen. "Microceratops" is a tiny relative of the lumbering, highly dangerous Triceratops. Lacking horns of any sort, the frill and the sharp beak are possibly the only features which link the two species. Front legs are short and function more for climbing than anything else but will be used to support creature should it want to take up a quadruped stance. The hands have five fingers capable of grasping, grasping first toe on hind feet enable the animal to aid in climbing, eyes are large and forward-facing. The tail is stiff and used for balancing.

Breeding SeasonEdit

Eggs are laid in the midst of the dry season in order to avoid the occurring storms and heavy rain, which would blow or wash away the nests in trees or hollows. The young will hatch nearly before the next wet season is coming.

BehaviorsEdit

Unlike its much larger relative, Triceratops , "Microceratops" is not a heavyweight brawler to be regarded with caution. Smaller even than Compsognathus, "Microceratops" is in fact arboreal, preferring to live high in the tree tops. It moves through the trees on four legs, jumping from branch to branch and using its tail for balance. Nervous and hyperactive,

"Microceratops" is always highly alert, capable of jumping several times its own height. Its eyesight is well developed with keen depth perception, which helps it greatly when leaping from tree to tree and watching out for danger. 

Thanks to its arboreal habits, tiny size and dull coloration, "Microceratops" is very difficult to spot in the trees, and can often be mistaken for monkeys or birds. The small ceratopsian is nimble and will most often flee from danger, using its agility to avoid most threats. Since it rarely leaves the safety of the trees, "Microceratops" is ignored by most predatory dinosaurs, although it is still hunted by large snakes and birds of prey. In the case of ground-dwelling carnivores, sometimes "Microceratops" will defecate and/ or urinate onto a foe from high above. The act is usually so perturbing to the would-be predator that it will simply move away, too disgusted to pursue its prey. If captured, "Microceratops" fights viciously, emitting ear-splitting, macaw-like shrieks and attempting to bite the predator with its sharp, powerful beak. 

"Microceratops" is a noisy and intelligent animal, and its vocalizations are many and very diverse. An example of a simple call is a purr, which expresses contentment. Other communicative calls include chirps, clicks and chatters; as well as squawks and screeches used during predator mobbing. Warning calls have different levels of pitch and frequency depending on the type of predator. 

"Microceratops" gets most of its moisture from the leaves, seeds and fruits on which it feeds, so it has no need to descend to the ground in order to drink. However, it does sometimes have to leave the safety of the trees to consume small stones which aids digestion. Several members of a group may descend while others remain in the trees, looking out for danger. The dinosaur is just as nimble on the ground, able to sprint at speeds of up to 47 mph. When threatened, it runs rapidly on its hind legs in order to reach the nearest tree.

Breeding BehaviorsEdit

During the mating season males in a group fight for females. These duels involve head-pushing contests not too dissimilar to the famous head-pushing contests of Triceratops, albeit at a much smaller scale. While the duels themselves are not deadly owing to the dinosaurs' lack of sharp horns, the fact that they occur so high off the ground is what makes them so dangerous. Usually if it appears one male is stronger than another, the loser will submit and back down, however it has been known for evenly-matched males to continue fighting until one is finally knocked from its perch. Even if they survive the initial fall, males are often too injured to attempt to climb back up a tree, and thus become easy food for passing predators. 

Nests are built in hollow trees, logs, or on thick branches, and some females may share nests, resulting in many eggs and young per nest. Usually the dominant male sires the most young per breeding season and the females care for the young communally, feeding them regurgitated plant material and defending them from mammalian egg-thieves such as coatis and kinkajous. The young grow quickly and are able to scurry through the trees soon after leaving the nests, although because their senses are still developing and they still have difficulty judging distances, accidents do occur.

ResourcesEdit

Illustration by FeatherTail Text from the LtL Isla Nublar Field Guide

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