Meet Kongonaphon kely, a pocket sized dinosaur forerunner that was smaller than your cellphone.
The creature, which predated dinosaurs and flying pterosaurs, was just shy of 4 inches (10 centimeters) tall, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This illustration is provided by the American Museum of Natural History.
Kongonaphon was a long-legged predator that may have been bipedal. The shape of its small, conical and unserrated teeth and an examination of microwear on them suggests Kongonaphon ate insects or other small invertebrates.
It was a member of a group called Ornithodira spanning the evolutionary lineage that led to dinosaurs and pterosaurs, part of a larger assemblage called archosaurs that also included the crocodilian lineage.
(image for representation)
“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.
Looking like a small dinosaur that could fit in your hand, Kammerer mused that it “would probably make a great pet.”
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.
(Image used for representation)
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.