By: Pat Prescott - Staff Writer
Published: Jun 14, 2021

Worlds Smallest Fossil Dinosaur

The worlds smallest fossil dinosaur has been discovered. The fossil itself is a tiny neck bone that was found in the southern United Kingdom. The birdlike creature would have lived more than 100 million years ago.

The bone itself is a mere quarter-inch in length. Belonging to and adult size dinosaur that would have grown to no larger than 15.7 inches long. Which would make it the smallest dino on record. It lived in the Cretaceous period 145 million to 100 million years ago, reported University of Portsmouth paleozoologist Darren Naish in the August issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.

Currently, the title is held by another bird like creature that lived in China. And would have live some 155 to 160 million years ago. The name of this tiny dino was Anchiornis.

A maniraptoran, is a group of theropod dinosaurs believed to be the line that eventually led to modern-day birds. It would be difficult to say what the tiny dino ate, or even how long it really was, with just the one small bone. Researchers used two techniques to estimate how big the dino might have been.

The first method involved building a digital model of the dinosaur’s neck and then fitting that neck into a silhouette of a generic maniraptoran. That technique is more art than science, Naish wrote on his blog, Tetrapod Zoology, predicting it would make some dinosaur researchers “vomit with rage.” A slightly more mathematical approach used neck-to-body ratios of other related dinosaurs to calculate the new maniraptoran’s length. Both methods led to a “ballpark” of about 13 to 15.7 inches, Naish wrote.

The smallest American dinosaur, Hesperonychus elizabethae, was a velociraptor-like predator with a nasty curved claw on its toe. It stood about a foot and a half tall and weighed 4 pounds. The new dinosaur would be smaller than the American one by about 6 inches.


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