North America's Smallest Meat-eating Dinosaur

Canadian researchers have discovered the North America's smallest known meat-eating dinosaur. Termed as 'Hesperonychus', the tiny dinosaur was just half the size of a domestic cat and probably hunted and ate insects, mammals, amphibians and maybe even baby dinosaurs.

Hesperonychus Reporting their findings on March 16 issue of journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", Nick Longrich from University of Calgary and Philip Currie from University of Alberta said that Hesperonychus, which means "western claw," a new genus of carnivorous dinosaur prowled southeastern Alberta in Western Canada during the late cretaceous period.

Weighing nearly two kilograms and standing about 50 centimeters tall, Hesperonychus elizabethae ran about on two legs and had razor-like claws and an enlarged sickle-shaped claw on its second toe. So, it looks much like a miniature version of the famous Velociraptor, a hunter with a fierce reputation and a killer claw

Fossilized remains of Hesperonychus, were collected in 1982 from several locations including Dinosaur Provincial Park. But paleontologists had assumed that those remains were of juvenile animals. The fossils remained unstudied for 25 years until Nick Longrich came across them in 2007. One of those fossilized remains was a well-preserved pelvis, which helped in determining that it was actually an adult dinosaur.



beth said...

Tiny but dangerous...very cool.