Image courtesy: Julius T. Csotonyi
Palaeontologists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, University of Toronto, Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Calgary have discovered and named a new species of dinosaur.
Despite the titans that often come to mind when you hear the word dinosaur, this new species, Albertadromeus syntarsus, was actually quite small. It's part of what the palaeontologists say is a previously overlooked diverse group of small dinosaurs.
The new plant-eating dino identified from a partial hind leg and other skeletal elements measured just five feet long and weighed about 30 pounds.
Albertadromeus lived in what is present day southern Alberta about 77 million years ago. It was discovered in 2009 by Dr. David Evans of the ROM and Dr. Michael Ryan of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
Palaeontologists say little is known about the smaller-bodied dinosaurs because their bones are less likely to be preserved and more likely to be destroyed before being fossilized.
"Albertadromeus may have been close to the bottom of the dinosaur food chain but without dinosaurs like it, we would not have giants like T. rex," said Michael Ryan of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History.