A group of international scientists has announced evidence of the smallest dinosaur ever recorded.
NHMLAC reports: “The tiny bird was found preserved in Burmese amber from Myanmar, trapped around 99 million years ago. The delicate skull is smaller than that of a Bee Hummingbird, the smallest living bird, and it belongs to a new species, Oculudentavis khaungraae. Researchers found that Oculudentavis had more teeth than any other fossil bird. The large number of teeth suggests that, despite its tiny size, Oculudentavis was a predator. The tooth row is longer than other birds’, extending all the way under the eye, so the researchers gave the new dinosaur the name meaning “eye-tooth-bird.” Its full name, Oculudentavis khaungraae, honors Mrs. Khaung Ra, who donated the specimen to the Hupoge Amber Museum. The tiny eyes of Oculudentavis were very large but with a pupil size that suggests it was diurnal.”
Said Dr. Jingmai O’Connor, senior professor, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and a lead author on the study: “It’s the weirdest fossil I’ve ever been lucky enough to study. I just love how natural selection ends up producing such bizarre forms. We are also super lucky this fossil survived to be discovered 99 million years later. Bivalves came very close to destroying the specimen – one of their drill holes goes right into the braincase. Just goes to show the extraordinary circumstances that all need to be just right for fossils to make it into human hands.”
More at NHMLAC.