Tiny Dinosaur ID'd in Canada

A claw of a pint-sized cousin of velociraptor is small enough to rest on a Canadian coin. The dinosaur was about the size of a chicken.

Washington ~ Imagine a vicious velociraptor like those in "Jurassic Park," but only as big as a modern chicken. That's what Canadian researchers say they have found, the smallest meat-eating dinosaur yet discovered in North America.

This pint-sized cousin of velociraptor, weighing in at 4 to 5 pounds, "probably hunted and ate whatever it could for its size -- insects, mammals, amphibians and maybe even baby dinosaurs," according to Nicholas Longrich of the University of Calgary.

The creature lived 75 million years ago in the swamps and forests of southern Alberta, Longrich and colleague Philip J. Currie report in today's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There has been plenty of evidence for large and medium-size dinosaurs in North America, but not small ones, Longrich said in a telephone interview. Now researchers see there was a dinosaur filling that niche also.

The bones of the small raptor were discovered among fossils that had been collected a quarter-century ago and remained in a museum drawer, Longrich explained.

Similar small dinos have been uncovered in China in the last few years, and studying those helped the researchers identify this North American version.


Salt Lake Tribune Article
March 17, 2009
Author: Randolph E. Schmid
Associated Press Science Writer
Photos by: Nicholas Longrich, University of Calgary

Tiny Dinosaur