Washington, October 22 (ANI): A new study has led to the identification of the tiniest dinosaur in North America yet found, which weighed less than a teacup Chihuahua.
According to a report in National Geographic News, parts of the skulls, vertebrae, arms, and legs from the four Fruitadens haagarorum specimens were found in the 1970s in Colorado and later stored at the Natural History Museum.
A recent analysis of the fossil leg bones showed not only that the dinosaur is a new species, but that the largest of the specimens are full-grown adults.
The agile dinosaur was just 28 inches (70 centimeters) long and weighed less than two pounds (one kilogram).
The diminutive creature likely darted among the legs of larger plant-eaters such as Brachiosaurus and predators such as Allosaurus about 150 million years ago, during the late Jurassic period.
The discovery knocks Albertonykus borealis, a chicken-size dinosaur identified in 2008, off its pedestal as the tiniest North American dinosaur.
The newfound dinosaur also had an unusual combination of teeth for a reptile: canine-like teeth in the front of its jaws and molar-shaped teeth along its cheeks.
This arrangement and the creature's small stature mean it's likely that F. haagarorum ate plants, eggs, and insects.
According to study leader Richard Butler, of the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology in Munich, Germany, "To find such an unexpected species in a well-studied area suggests it's still possible to discover completely unique and remarkable fossil species."
"If dinosaur ecosystems were that diverse, who knows what astonishing beasts are waiting for us to discover?" he added. (ANI)