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Smallest Dinosaur Ever? 'Ashdown Maniraptoran' Fossil May Be Tiniest Ever Found

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/14/11 02:34 PM ET Updated: 08/14/11 06:12 AM ET

Smallest Dinosaur

Researchers may have just discovered the world's smallest dinosaur, a bird-like creature that seems to have been no more than 40 centimeters (15.7 inches) long.

While a dinosaur over a foot long might not seem that small, this find of a full-grown adult dinosaur rivals fossils of the Anchiornis genus, which is currently considered the smallest known dinosaur, according to Fox News. Anchiornis fossils have been found in what is now China and lived 160 million to 155 million years ago, while this new creature lived about 100 million years ago and was found in the southern part of the U.K.

According to Discovery, this new dinosaur could have weighed as little as 200 grams (7 ounces).

The neck bone found by researchers from the University of Portsmouth measured just a quarter-inch (7.1 millimeters) long, according to LiveScience. From there scientists extrapolated the full size of the tiny dino.

The bone belongs to a member of the maniraptoran group, a type of dinosaur that is believed to have led to modern day birds. Scientists haven't yet named the new dinosaur, though it's currently dubbed the "Ashdown maniraptoran."

Because the researchers have yet to find a skull for the dinosaur, they can not accurately theorize on its diet, reports Discovery. However, based on similar finds, they believe it may have been an omnivore, and could have eaten small creatures like insects.

The new findings are detailed in the latest issue of Cretaceous Research.

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