Birdy Quirks

Smallest dinosaur same size as smallest bird

The original Oculudentavis specimen, trapped in a lump of amber.

Next time your kids get freaked out by the velociraptors-in-the-kitchen scene from Jurassic Park, trying distracting them with this little factoid:

The smallest dinosaur ever discovered, Oculudentavis -  meaning eye-tooth-bird-  was about the same size as the smallest bird!

The bee hummingbird, or Mellisuga helenae, at 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) long is also the world’s very smallest bird and is sometimes mistaken for an actual bee.

Mellisuga weighs about the same as a US dime and lays eggs about the size of a coffee bean. It is found only in Cuba.

Meet Oculudentavis

Bee hummingbird in flight

The smallest-ever dinosaur, Oculudentavis, was first discovered in 2016 in northern Myanmar and lived about 99 million years ago.

Its half-inch wide head was found trapped in a lump of amber which preserved both bones and some soft tissue.

Oculudentavis was first thought to be a very primitive bird looking something like this: 

Oculudentavis as originally envisaged.

But after some scientific controversy, Oculudentavis is now thought to have been more like a very small, very strange lizard

Revised estimate of Oculudentavis appearance.

Not very scary – right, kids?

About the author

Joy Thurlow

Hi, I'm Joy Thurlow. Watching birds in the back yard is a favorite hobby of mine. My mission with Joy of Birdwatching is to share (accurate) information about birds, birding and useful products to help everyone connect with nature and enjoy the birds while we still have them. Thanks for reading!

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment