The smallest dinosaur in the world was the Microraptor at 55-77 centimeters long from beak to tail tip. This little critter lived during the early Cretaceous period; about 125.5 million years ago. As its name suggests, it was a meat eater than lived in the trees. This dinosaur had wings; but could only glide from place to place with the occasional rare flight as its wings weren’t set up properly to fly long distances.
The Microrapter was discovered in Liaoning, China in 2003 and provides another link in the transition from dinosaurs to modern birds.
Other small species of dinosaurs include the Compsognathus at 60 centimeters that 145 million years ago, the Saltopus at 60 centimeters that lived 200 million years ago, the Lesothosaurus was 90 centimeters and lived 200 million years ago, and the Wannanosaurus was 1 meter and lived about 70 million years ago.
Here is a brief summary of the major dinosaur timelines:
Palaeozoic Era – 570 million to 245 million years ago and includes from earliest to latest the Cambrian, the Ordovician, the Silurian, the Devonian, the Carboniferous and the Permian periods.
Mesozoic Era – 245 million to 65 million years ago and includes from earliest to latest the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous periods.
Most dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago by a giant meteor, heavy volcanic activity, or competition for resources with mammals.
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