Museums boast colossal skeletons of dinosaurs and Ice Age creatures, overshadowing modern species. Despite this, numerous diminutive reptiles, amphibians, and mammals coexisted with giants like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops.

Identifying the smallest, often most endearing dinosaurs (and prehistoric creatures) proves challenging compared to their larger counterparts. A minuscule, one-foot reptile could easily be mistaken for the offspring of a larger species, unlike unmistakable evidence of a colossal 100-ton creature. Nevertheless, certain tiny prehistoric beings stand out for their uniqueness.

5-Smallest Armored Dinosaur: Minmi (500 Pounds)


Meet Minmi, the aptly named tiny dinosaur from the early Cretaceous period. Weighing in at 500 pounds, Minmi may not seem remarkably small at first glance. However, when compared to later ankylosaurs like Ankylosaurus and Euoplocephalus, which weighed multiple tons, its diminutive size becomes apparent. Despite its small stature, Minmi’s brain cavity suggests it was just as unintelligent, if not more so, than its larger descendants.

4-Smallest Horned, Frilled Dinosaur: Aquilops (Three Pounds)

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Aquilops, weighing a mere three pounds, stands as an extraordinary anomaly within the ceratopsian lineage. While most early horned and frilled dinosaurs originated in Asia, Aquilops was unearthed in North America, dating back to the middle Cretaceous period, approximately 110 million years ago. Despite its small size, Aquilops’ descendants evolved into massive plant-eaters like Triceratops and Styracosaurus, capable of defending against hungry predators like T. Rex.

3-Smallest Sauropod: Europasaurus (2,000 Pounds)

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When envisioning sauropods, colossal creatures like Diplodocus and Apatosaurus typically come to mind, boasting sizes comparable to houses, with some weighing nearly 100 tons and measuring up to 50 yards in length. However, Europasaurus challenges this perception as it was no larger than a modern ox, measuring only about 10 feet in length and weighing less than 2,000 pounds. This diminutive size is attributed to its habitat on a small island isolated from the European mainland, akin to its miniature titanosaur relative, Magyarosaurus, from the late Jurassic period.

2-Smallest Tyrannosaur: Dilong (25 Pounds)

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Tyrannosaurus Rex, known as the king of dinosaurs, reached lengths of 40 feet and weighed between 7 to 8 tons. However, its predecessor, Dilong, inhabited the earth over 60 million years earlier and weighed a mere 25 pounds. This serves as a compelling example of how large creatures often evolve from much smaller ancestors. Furthermore, Dilong, originating from eastern Asia, boasted a covering of feathers, suggesting that even the formidable T. Rex may have exhibited plumage at some point in its life cycle.

1-Smallest Raptor: Microraptor (Two Pounds)

 Emily Willoughby/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.5

Microraptor, hailing from the early Cretaceous period, could easily be confused for a peculiarly mutated pigeon due to its feathers and four primitive wings (one pair each on its forearms and hind legs). Despite its pigeon-like appearance, Microraptor belonged to the same family as Velociraptor and Deinonychus, albeit measuring only about two feet from head to tail and weighing just a few pounds. Paleontologists suggest that due to its diminutive size, Microraptor likely subsisted on a diet consisting primarily of insects.

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