In general, when we think about dinosaurs, we think about these humongous, awe-inspiring beasts that walked the face of the earth, with their big claws and sharp teeth, chasing after their next dinner while growling, or did they roar? In any case, we knew that they were all giant reptiles, but were they all?
We’ve been led to believe this, and I don’t blame you because most of the archaeological museums we visit have displays of very gigantesque skeletons, and we focus our attention more on that. But we have smaller dinosaurs that lived among Diplodocus and T-Rex. Here are a few mentions of who these miniature beasts were.
The Europasaurus was the smallest sauropod that existed. Physically, we know that sauropods had long necks and were big enough to be the size of a house or bigger; they could reach lengths of 50 yards and weigh around 100 tons. This sauropod was only 2,000 pounds and was 10 feet long from head to toe, around the same size as a bull. This is because they were subject to “insular dwarfism” as they lived on a small European island separate from the mainland during the late period of the Jurassic period.
They emerged during the early Cretaceous period, 125 -122 million years ago. The Microraptor is a smaller version of a raptor with wings! Yes, wings; they had two sets of wings on the forearm and hind legs. Scientists don’t know for sure, but it might have been able to do some soft flying.
It moved on two legs instead of four and was a carnivore, so its main meal was other smaller animals and insects. It was the same family as the Velociraptor and Deinonychus and weighed a few pounds. In size, they measured 0.8 metres and could probably weigh 1 kg.
The Aquilops was from the Ceratops family but did not live in Asia like most of his family members, but many of their remnants were found in North America. This three-pound dinosaur lived in the middle of the Cretaceous period and is the ancestor of the Triceratops and the Styracosaurus, which evolved a million years later. Physically it had a fan-like neck and frills on its back and tail.
The Dilong is the ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It evolved mainly in the eastern part of Asia. Its fossils were found in the western part of Liaoning province in China, dating from 128 to 127 million years ago. Dilong lived roughly 145 to 100 million years ago during the early Cretaceous period. Compared to its descendant, T-Rex, which came into existence 60 million years after, Dilong only weighed 25 pounds and was 1,6 metres in length and had larger forelimbs and three-fingered hands.
It was the first tyrannosauroid with feathers covering parts of his body, as some fossil remains show impressions of protofeathers. Dilong combines two Mandarin words, “Di”, which means emperor and “long”, which means dragon.
The Tethyshadros are the second dinosaurs discovered in what we know as Italy today because back then, Italy was submerged underneath the Tethys sea during the Cretaceous period. This duck-billed dinosaur weighed about 800 pounds and was also subject to insular dwarfism because it lived on an island. They were a fraction of the size of most duck-billed dinosaurs, such as the Hadrosaurs, who weighed around two to three pounds.
Not “Minnie-me”, but Minmi is an appropriate name for the kind of dinosaurs they are. They fall under the category of Ankylosaurs that existed in the Cretaceous period. With its size, some would still consider them may be medium-sized, but when you compared them to his descendant Anklyosaurs like the Euoplocephalus that weighed multiple tons, the Minmi weighed around 500 pounds.
The Magyarosaurus is the first dinosaur that reaches a ton in weight. Some scientists say that their main diet was based on seafood. Because it was a Sauropod, it was characterized by a small head and a long neck. The Magyarosaurus was another example of an insular dinosaur, confined to living on an island. They are accessed as a smaller version of Titanosaur, and their descendants include Argentionosaurus and Futalognkosaurus.
The Gasparinisaura is the smallest Ornithopod dinosaur, weighing only 25 pounds and is 31 inches (80cm) in length. It is also one of the few dinosaurs named after the female species and is an ancestor of the Hadrosaurs. It lived in the late Cretaceous period, 86-71 million years ago, and the first fossil of this small dinosaur was found in Patagonia, Argentina. Gasparinisaura was a herbivore whose diet consisted of conifers, ginkgos, and cycads.
Their name means “Gasparini’s lizard,” a reference to the Argentinian paleontologist Dr Zulma. B Gasparini was known for studying Mesozoic reptiles in Patagonia. This small Ornithopod is one of the rarest to have spiked thumbs. He also had a beak, short arms, and long legs.
This marine reptile only weighs five pounds but is quite the fighter as it survived the Permian-Triassic period. At the time, the Catorhynchus, who is an Ichthyosaur, was considered to be the largest marine reptile that existed in the early Triassic period. Their descendants are the Shonisaurus.
At first glance, you see a miniature-size crocodile with all these features, such as a narrow snout, small legs, and a scaled body. The Bernissartia existed during the Cretaceous period and was the smallest breed of the Archosaurs. It weighed around ten pounds, and its size was comparable to that of a domestic cat.
The Nemicolopterus is the smallest Pterosaur to be discovered in 2008 in China by paleontologists. It weighed only a few ounces and had a wingspan that measured 10 inches so that it would be comparable in size to a dove. According to scientific research, the Nemicolopterus may have evolved to become a Quetzalcoatlus 50 million years later.
The Iberomesornis was a prehistoric bird that existed during the Cretaceous period; it weighed only a few pounds and could be compared in size to sparrows. The Iberomesornis was the smallest of its kind at that time. Their wings ended with a claw on the tip and a tiny beak embedded with small jagged teeth.
The Falcatus is the smallest prehistoric shark to date and measured 25 to 30 centimeters from head to tail, so basically the same length as a ruler. They had big buglike eyes, which probably helped them a lot when exploring the deep seas. The male Falcatus had a dorsal spine protracted from his head; maybe it was just a difference between the genders, but some scientists think it was for mating.
Their dorsal spine rises forward instead of backward like other prehistoric sharks such as Orthacanthus and Xenacanthus. Falcatus is the ancestor of Megalodon, which existed 300 million years after.
This prehistoric amphibian only weighed a few ounces. It is a genus of frog-like amphibians that are now extinct. It existed in the early part of the Triassic period, and its habitat was in the swamps of Madagascar; in total, it had fourteen vertebrae which is a big difference from frogs today, who only have up to four or nine.
Saltopus is another small dinosaur that weighed about two pounds and was about 2 feet in length. It lived in the Triassic period, 225-222 million years ago. They had light hollow bones, a long head, and a mouth full of sharp teeth. The first fossil was discovered in Scotland in 1910, and their name was Friedrick von Huene; their name means leaping foot. Because their fossils are incomplete, there is not much information on them, but we know that they were carnivores that fed on insects and carcasses left behind.
Named by the paleontologist Peter M.Galton, Lesothosaurus is one of the earliest dinosaurs to be discovered. Falling under the ornithischian order, they walked on two legs with four toes and five fingers on their hands; they had a small neck, a flexible head, and a long pointed tail. Although it had sharp front and arrow-like teeth in its top jaw, the lower jaw was just bone.
It weighed around 1 pound and measured 3 feet (1 meter) in length. Because of its small size, it had to be aware of pterosaurs from the air and crocodilians on the ground. They existed during the late part of the Triassic period until early into the Jurassic period, so 200 million years ago.
Wannanosauras was discovered in one of the provinces in China and was named after the location it was discovered in by Chinese paleontologist Lian-Han Hou in 1977. It existed during the Cretaceous period, 83 to 75 million years ago, and is a genus of the Pachycephalosaurian dinosaur as a flat skull with large openings characterizes them.
Like most Pachycephalosaurians, it was either a herbivore or an omnivore whose diet consisted of different plants and maybe insects. In size, it was 24 inches (60 cm) tall and was 3,3 inches(1 meter) in length. In pop culture, the Wannanosaurus was a character in a book series called Dinosaur Cove and had the name Wanna; it also appeared on Dinosaur Train.