In 2016, a small bird-like dinosaur trapped in amber was discovered from a mine in Myanmar. It was purchased by Khaung Ra, who donated it to her son-in-law’s museum, the Hupoge Amber Museum in China. The specimen was only studied when it was shown to researcher Jingmai O'Connor, a senior professor of vertebrate paleontology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. O'Connor and her team named the dinosaur Oculudentavis khaungraae, combining the Latin words "oculus" (eye), "dentes" (teeth) and "aves" (bird).
|Credits: Live Science|
O. khaungraae, regarded as what may be the tiniest dinosaur ever known to live on Earth, got stuck in a gob of tree resin that eventually hardened into amber. This happened about 99 million years ago. Roger Benson, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Oxford, stated that it was the smallest dinosaur of its time since it’s just one-sixth the size of the smallest known early fossil bird. This makes it the smallest known dinosaur of the Mesozoic era (252 million to 66 million years ago).
"This discovery is a stark reminder that ancient birds, and even non-bird dinosaurs potentially, may have evolved to diminutive sizes, but are unknown because they are too small to preserve in the fossil record under ordinary circumstances," Darla Zelenitsky, an assistant professor of dinosaur paleobiology at the University of Calgary, said.
|Credits: National Geographic|
According to Live Science, a science news website that features groundbreaking developments in science, space, technology, health, the environment, our culture and history, the dinosaur likely weighed just 0.07 ounces (2 grams), the weight of two-dollar bills. But, researchers call it a little beast because it had roughly 100 sharp teeth. It even had teeth in the back of its jaw, under its eye, suggesting that it could open its mouth extremely wide.
"It has more teeth than any other Mesozoic [dinosaur-age] bird that we know of," O'Connor said.