The Smallest Dinosaur on the Planet Discovered

Friday, January 31, 2020

At the word “dinosaur” we most often imagine a huge formidable predator with a full mouth of razor-sharp teeth. Be that as it may, according to an article published on, we can be very mistaken about the appearance of some representatives of the ancient fauna. So, one of such examples of the amazing effect of evolution perfectly adapted to modern climatic conditions, acquired a bright color and plumage, while acquiring five centimeter dimensions. In other words, the smallest dinosaur in the world is a hummingbird!

Smallest dinosaur

Birds – one of the lines of dinosaurs, which accidentally survived to the present. It is believed that the smallest bird on the planet is a bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae), which lives in Cuba. According to the National Audubon Society, these tiny birds are just over 5 centimeters long and weighing less than two grams and are often mistaken for bees.

A possible ancestor of modern hummingbirds may be the 70-centimeter dinosaur Mahakala omnogovae, whose skeleton was found in 2007 in the Mongolian Gobi desert. It is known that the dinosaur lived in the Cretaceous period about 80 million years ago, and its size could only compete with the herbivorous Micropachycephalosaurus, which also had a similar length.

One of the smallest dinosaurs that ever inhabited the planet is the so-called Yi Qi, a feathered dinosaur from China with webbed wings that look like bat wings. The miniature creature weighed only about 380 grams and was the closest relative of the even smaller dinosaur Ambopteryx longibrachium. By the way, this species also lived in China and had about 32 centimeters in length and weight about 306 grams.

Ambopteryx longibrachium. Image credit: Chung-Tat Cheung & Min Wang / Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Sometimes the small size of the fossils can lead scientists astray. So, when paleontologist discovered the bones of a tiny dinosaur in the 1970s, the find prompted researchers to call the fossil animal “muszavr” or “mouse lizard”. However, scientists were much surprised when, after a while, giant versions of this dinosaur were found! Thus, paleontologist were much surprised when they first discovered the fossils of a Muszavr cub, whose adult weight could reach 113 kilograms.

Another type of tiny dinosaur showed its existence more in the footsteps than in the fossils. In 2018, an international team of researchers discovered tiny dinosaur footprints in the South Korean province of Jingju dating back 110 million years; each track was only 1 centimeter long, which hinted at the extremely small sizes of the dinosaurs that left them – no more than a modern sparrow. However, it still remains unknown whether the mini-dinosaurs found were mature individuals or were the cubs of some still undiscovered species of ancient predators.