Scientists discover new species of dog-sized dwarf dinosaur

(ORDO NEWS) — Not all dinosaurs that lived millions of years ago were huge creatures like herbivorous sauropods and bloodthirsty tyrannosaurs. Among them lived small creatures that were comparable in size to dogs.

Recently, in Romania, paleontologists unearthed the remains of just such a creature – if he came up to you, then his head would be approximately at the level of your stomach. This is not all that is known about the new dinosaur for science.

During the study of fossilized bones, scientists managed to find out what the prehistoric creature ate, why it had such a small body compared to other dinosaurs, and what caused its death. It stands out from other dinosaurs and deserves your attention.

Scientists discover new dinosaur species in Romania

A dwarf dinosaur, or rather its fossilized remains, were found in Transylvania, the most famous region of Romania. In honor of the place of its discovery, a new species of dinosaur was named Transylvanosaurus platycephalus.

Unfortunately, scientists have not been able to find a complete skeleton of a prehistoric creature, this happens extremely rarely.

They found only the bones of the skull, crushed into several pieces. Despite the scarcity of the find, paleontologists were able to tell a lot of interesting things about a dinosaur new to science.

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Dinosaur bones Transylvanosaurus platycephalus
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Excavations of a dinosaur new to science

First of all, they found out that Transylvanosaurus platycephalus belongs to the Rhabdodontidae family. Other dinosaurs from the same group lived on the territory of present-day France and reached six meters in length.

And the dwarf from Romania grew up to a maximum of two meters – in size it was comparable to a large, but a dog. If by some miracle he survived to this day, we would not be afraid of him – the dinosaur was a herbivore.

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A new dinosaur for science was much smaller than the rest

According to scientists, the specimen found died by drowning in the water. The discovered bones were in river sediments for many years, thanks to which they were able to remain in more or less good condition.

The remaining parts of the dinosaur’s body are either scattered to the sides or completely disappeared. Usually paleontologists fail to collect a complete skeleton of ancient creatures, so this time the chances are small.

But, despite the death in the water, the pygmy dinosaur certainly knew how to swim well. The fact is that his ancestors first lived in Eastern Europe, and only then somehow moved to the territory of Romania. Researchers do not rule out that they covered part of the way by swimming.

The smallest animals of antiquity

There is an explanation for the fact that dinosaurs of the species Transylvanosaurus platycephalus were much smaller than related dinosaurs.

According to the authors of the scientific work, about 70 million years ago, Europe was a group of small islands. To fit in a limited space, creatures living on small patches of land had to gradually decrease in size.

The dinosaurs that lived in what is now Romania are not the only representatives of the ancient world that were forced to become smaller in the course of evolution. During the Pleistocene era, when mammoths and woolly rhinos lived on Earth, there were pygmy elephants (Palaeoloxodon falconeri).

While modern elephants reach 6 meters in height, these creatures grew to a maximum of 90 centimeters at the withers. Paleontological findings hint that ancient elephants shrank each generation, losing 4 centimeters in height and 4 kilograms in weight. For 350 thousand years they have decreased to 1.8 meters.

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Palaeoloxodon falconeri’s pygmy elephants were the size of a goose

The Cypriot pygmy hippos (Hippopotamus minor) lived at the same time. As the name implies, they lived in what is now Cyprus.

Their body weight was approximately 200 kilograms, while current males can weigh up to 1,800 kilograms. Their modest body size was also associated with a lack of space. Despite the name, the ancient hippos still remained the largest animals in Cyprus.

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Ancient hippos were much smaller than today

The smallest dinosaurs in history

In fairness, it should be noted that the dinosaur found in Romania cannot be called the smallest dinosaur in history. In addition to them, microceratopsians (Microceratus) existed on our planet, the remains of which are found in large numbers in China and Mongolia.

Their body length reached a maximum of 76 centimeters, and their mass was about 10 kilograms or even less. They certainly were the size of modern dogs.

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Microceratops were slightly larger than mice

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