General, Research, Technology

The smallest dinosaur was only 5 centimeters long

Millions of years ago on our planetdinosaurs, among which were both huge predators and small, almost defenseless creatures. Recently, an international group of scientists studying ancient animals found the skull of a tiny dinosaur. The length of the head along with the beak was only 14 millimeters, that is, the creature's body size was approximately five centimeters, as in modern hummingbird birds. The most interesting thing is that the skull was found inside amber, inside the petrified resin of trees, which is better known as amber. Usually, the remains of ancient insects are found inside it, so finding the bones of a tiny dinosaur is now considered a unique phenomenon.

Dinosaur of the species Oculudentavis khaungraae

The smallest dinosaur in history

About the discovery of the smallest dinosaur in historywas told in the scientific journal Nature. Researchers believe that the found remains of a dinosaur named as Oculudentavis khaungraae belonged to an adult. The length of the skull is 7.1 millimeters, but along with the beak, the size of the head reached 14 millimeters. Unfortunately, paleontologists have not yet discovered the bones of the body, so they can only assume that the body size of the tiny dinosaur was approximately the same as that of modern hummingbirds. So, the body length of a hummingbird-bee (Mellisuga helenae) is approximately five centimeters.

Hummingbird, Mellisuga helenae

Dinosaur life

Thanks to storage inside amber, the remainsallowed a lot to learn about the lifestyle of the dinosaur. Judging by the shape of the eye sockets, he led a daily life. The structure of the eye sockets is almost the same as that of modern lizards. That is, the eyes of the dinosaur were slightly rolled out. On the upper and lower jaw of Oculudentavis khaungraae, 29-30 teeth were counted. Since they have a pointed shape, scientists suggested that the dinosaur was a predator and fed on small insects. It is likely that the ancient creature could even attack snakes, because its bones were quite strong for such a small body size.

Visualization of the skull of a dinosaur Oculudentavis khaungraae

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Despite the fact that scientists compare the dinosaur withhummingbird birds, they are not sure that he could fly. According to them, on the evolutionary tree, Oculudentavis khaungraae was located somewhere between birds and dinosaurs. The creature found does not reach dinosaurs and birds in weight and size, therefore, at the moment, scientists are raising many questions. Perhaps in future research, they will finally find out what place in the ancient world occupied so tiny creatures. However, this is very difficult to do, because the smaller the animal, the lower the likelihood that its fragile remains will be well preserved.

The remains of the dinosaur Oculudentavis khaungraae inside amber

How are dinosaurs studied?

It is hoped that in the future, scientistsother parts of the dinosaur can be found inside amber. It is believed that the fragile remains of animals can only survive inside fossil tar. A piece of amber, inside which the skull was preserved, was found on the territory of the state of Myanmar, located in Southeast Asia. It is there that paleontologists often find the so-called "Burmese amber", inside which ancient insects are often walled up. Sometimes dinosaur parts are found inside the fossil resin, but this is extremely rare.

See also: How long were the days during the time of the dinosaurs?

All the charm of the remains inside the fossil resinlies in the fact that they can be studied without destroying the shell of amber. This is done using the so-called synchrotron radiation, which allows you to take high-quality photographs of an object without removing it from the protective shell. When working with fragile remains, this is extremely important, because any awkward movement can ruin the find.