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Thread: The smallest dinosaur ever found (a weird pre-bird)

  1. #1
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    The smallest dinosaur ever found (a weird pre-bird)

    NBC News

    The smallest dinosaur ever found – a bird-like creature weighing less than a tenth of an ounce – has been discovered inside a drop of amber, where it was preserved for 99 million years.

    The fossil skull of the new species, dubbed Oculudentavis, meaning "eye tooth bird," is just over half an inch long, and researchers think the animal was smaller than the bee hummingbird, the smallest known modern bird.

    "It's really tiny," said one of the scientists who studied the new dinosaur, Jingmai O'Connor, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. "And it's just weird on multiple levels."
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  2. #2
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    Fascinating! Makes me want to go amber hunting in Myanmar.

    Some very interesting features. Like the massive (relatively, the whole thing only weighted 2 grams) scleral ring around the eyes. Some features reminiscent of reptiles and some of birds. And some seldom found, or not at all (?), in either non bird dinosaurs or birds.

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    Myanmar, aka Burma, is unfortunately not a country where I'd want to go for much of anything.

    Oh, and the statement in the article about modern birds having binocular vision is incorrect. Some, like eagles, have excellent binocular vision; others do not. Wikipedia.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Myanmar, aka Burma, is unfortunately not a country where I'd want to go for much of anything.
    I wouldn’t say it would’ve a top destination, but I definitely would not be unhappy if I got the chance to visit Myanmar. I like the food and it has some beautiful historical sites.


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    Not any surprise given the circumstances, but it looks as if the jury is still out on classifying this find. Some experts have apparently made convincing arguments that this may be a reptile rather than a dinosaur / bird.

    An update on the tiny dino-bird I described yesterday

    Which in large part references this article over at Tetrapod Zoology.

    Minuscule Hummingbird-Sized Archaic Birds Existed During the Cretaceous

    Secondly, a number of experts whose opinions I respect have expressed doubts about the claimed theropod status of the fossil discussed below and have argued that it is more likely a non-dinosaurian reptile, perhaps a drepanosaur or lepidosaur (and maybe even a lizard).
    At the time of writing, this proposed non-dinosaurian status looks likely and a team of Chinese authors, led by Wang Wei, have just released an article arguing for non-dinosaurian status. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but let’s see. The original, unmodified article follows below the line…

    The articles also include information regarding the current ethical issues with Myanmar amber. Some scientists have boycotted it and encourage others to do so. Dating is also problematic because the scientists usually are not allowed to see the sites where the amber specimens are recovered from.

  6. #6
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    Here's a link to the Chinese paper arguing against the dinosaur / bird classification.

    (Back to Park) The "smallest dinosaur in history" in amber may be the largest oolong in history


    The list of "Doubts" argued in the paper.

    1) Can the shape of the head prove that it is a bird?
    2) Unreasonable Phylogenetic Analysis
    3) Birds without anterior orbital holes?
    4) "Birds" with lateral teeth?
    5) Mysterious square yoke bone
    6) Sclera bones only found in lizards
    7) The bird with the most teeth in history?
    8) Body size
    9) No feather?
    10) Strange wording and logical chains

    The back and forth of science, as it should be.

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    Accidental double post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Oh, and the statement in the article about modern birds having binocular vision is incorrect. Some, like eagles, have excellent binocular vision; others do not. Wikipedia.
    Yeah, really kludgy writing, as if birds must have one type of vision or the other or that the eyes necessarily have to point forward in order to have binocular vision. Many modern birds have eyes set well to the side of the head and have varying degrees of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Yeah, really kludgy writing, as if birds must have one type of vision or the other or that the eyes necessarily have to point forward in order to have binocular vision. Many modern birds have eyes set well to the side of the head and have varying degrees of it.
    Like mammals, the predators tend to have good binocular vision. The prey do not but have a wider field.
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