Forerunner to Dinosaurs Was Tiny Enough to Take Anywhere

Kongonaphon kely fed on bugs and was less than 4 inches tall, researchers say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2020 4:39 PM CDT
Fossils Show Small Forerunner to Dinosaurs That Fed on Bugs
This illustration depicts a Kongonaphon kely, a tiny relative of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.   (Alex Boersma via AP)

Meet Kongonaphon kely, a pocket-size dinosaur forerunner that was smaller than your cellphone. The creature, which predated dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs, was just shy of 4 inches tall, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Some of these things would have been quite cute animals," said study lead author Christian Kammerer, a paleontology researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Kammerer mused that the creature, which looks like a small dinosaur that could fit in your hand, "would probably make a great pet," the AP reports

Of course, no humans were around when Kongonaphon was roaming the wild, jumping around with its strong hind legs and feeding on bugs with its peg-like teeth, Kammerer said. The name means "tiny bug slayer." The fossils, dug up in Madagascar, date from 237 million years ago. Scientists figure the little guy was an adult because of growth rings in its bones, Kammerer said. "Based on statistical analyses of body size, we argue that dinosaurs and pterosaurs evolved from a miniaturized ancestor," he said, per Reuters.

(More fossils stories.)

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