Image of the Day: Tiny Dinosaur

A roughly 99-million-year-old piece of amber from northern Myanmar contains the skull of what appears to represent the smallest known dinosaur of the Mesozoic era.

Amy Schleunes
Amy Schleunes
Mar 16, 2020
The skull of Oculudentavis khaungraae is nearly perfectly preserved inside a piece of Burmese amber measuring 31.5 mm x 19.5 mm x 8.5 mm and weighing 2.84 g.
LIDA XING

Anewly identified species of a hummingbird-size dinosaur (Oculudentavis khaungraae) from the Mesozoic era was discovered in a roughly 99-million-year-old piece of Burmese amber, according to a study published on March 11 in Nature.

The authors write in the study that the skull was “exceptionally well-preserved,” and that the bones of the eye indicate that the dinosaur was likely active during the day. The upper and lower jaws are estimated to contain 29–30 sharp teeth in total, according to a press release, which suggests that despite its tiny size, the dinosaur may have been a predator that fed on small arthropods or invertebrates.

L. Xing et al., “Hummingbird-sized dinosaur from the Cretaceous period of Myanmar,” Nature, doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2068-4, 2020.

Amy Schleunes is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at aschleunes@the-scientist.com.