Tiny Fossil May Be New World’s Smallest Dinosaur

Paleontologists in the UK have discovered what may very well dethrone Anchiornis, a birdlike dinosaur that lived in China approximately 155 million years ago, as the smallest known dinosaur.

Researchers have dubbed the tiny dinosaur Ashdown maniraptoran in lieu of an official latin name, as it hasn’t been confirmed if the bone found is a misidentification of an already-known species of dinosaur.

The bone in question is a mere quarter-inch vertebrae found in East Sussex, UK. Paleontologists believe that the dinosaur, in its adult stage, would have measured only roughly 30 centimeters from head to tail.

“Based on other oviraptorosaurs and other small maniraptorans, it was perhaps an omnivore, eating small animals, including insects, as well as leaves and fruit,” said Darren Naish, one of the authors of the paper announcing the discovery.

A tiny vertebrae may be all paleontologists have found thus far, but Naish is convinced that even more bones of the Ashdown maniraptoran will be found in the coming years. Once more bones are found, researchers will be able to confirm whether this is a whole new species, or just a misidentification.

Thanks, Wired UK.