Fossils Reveal Early Dinosaur Smaller Than a Cellphone

The discoverer of the 4-inch-tall protodinosaur says it might have made a good pet.

Illustration depicts a Kongonaphon kely, a newly described reptile near the ancestry of dinosaurs and pterosaurs. (Frank Ippolito/American Museum of Natural History)

(AP) — 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 tall, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“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 said 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 peglike teeth, Kammerer said. The name means tiny bug slayer.

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.


By SETH BORENSTEIN

%d bloggers like this: