How Small Was the Smallest Dinosaur Fossil Ever Discovered?

Not all dinosaurs were towering behemoths like the brontosaurus or the Tyrannosaurus rex. The smallest dinosaur species that archeologists have discovered was a small, bird-like creature that may have been only 16 inches (40.6 cm) long. Discovered by University of Portsmouth researchers in the United Kingdom in 2011, the Ashdown maniraptoran is believed to have weighed just 7 ounces (about 200 grams) and lived 100 million years ago.

The bottom of the dinosaur food chain:

  • Maniraptora was the only dinosaur group with species that could fly. They were also the only dinosaurs known to have breast bones.

  • Researchers suspect that the Ashdown maniraptoran subsisted on insects, in addition to a diet of leaves and fruit.

  • Prior to this discovery, the smallest dinosaurs known to scientists were members of the genus Anchiornis, bird-like creatures that lived in present-day China about 160 million years ago.

Follow wiseGEEK:

More Info: Live Science

Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?



Free Widgets for your Site/Blog

Researchers say that DNA samples taken from Loch Ness suggest the mythical monster could actually be a large eel.  more...
January 29 ,  1886 :  The first successful gas-powered car was patented.  more...