Scientists Find Fossil Bones of Smallest Dinosaur in Los Angeles Museum

Fossil bones housed at a Los Angeles museum belong to the smallest dinosaur discovered in North America , scientists said Tuesday.

The dinosaur "would have looked like a roadrunner on steroids," said Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County where the fossil bones are stored.

It likely ate plants and hunted bugs during the late Jurassic period , about 150 million years ago. It was so tiny and fast that it probably darted between the legs of larger dinosaurs, researchers said, The Associated Press report.

According to, a new dinosaur species, Fruitadens haagarorum, is the smallest dinosaur ever discovered from North America. The tiny Fruitadens weighed less than a kilogram (two pounds) and was just 70 cm (28 inches) in length.

The remarkable fossils of Fruitadens, housed at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County were discovered in Colorado in the late 1970s. The species was recently identified and named by an international team of scientists, led by Dr. Richard Butler of the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology, Munich, Germany, and including Natural History Museum Dinosaur Institute Director Dr. Luis Chiappe. Their findings appear today in the British science journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"People usually classify dinosaurs by whether they are meat or plant eaters," Chiappe says. "But in reality, the more we know about their diversity, we recognize some of them were in between. We’re realizing the way of classifying of them as either plant or meat eater is too simplistic. This is a good example of an animal that probably lived on both, plants and bugs, at the same time."

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