Smallest North American Dino on Display in LA - NBC Southern California

Smallest North American Dino on Display in LA

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    Smallest North American Dino on Display in LA
    dinosaurs.nhm.org
    Fruitadens haagarorum (Photo courtesy: Natural History Museum of LA County Dinosaur Institute)

    A 4-inch tall dinosaur -- the smallest ever discovered from North America -- is now on display in Los Angeles

    The new dinosaur species, Fruitadens haagarorum, weighed less than two pounds and was only 28 inches long, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Museum:

    The agile, fast-running Fruitadens lived in the Late Jurassic period (about 150 million years ago). He darted between the legs of some of the largest known long-necked sauropod dinosaurs, such as Brachiosaurus, and giant meat-eating dinosaurs such as Allosaurus and Torvosaurus.

    "Fruitadens comes from a series of rocks, the Morrison Formation, which paleontologists have studied intensively for 130 years, and from which dozens of dinosaur species are already known," said Dr. Richard Butler of the Bavarian State Collection for Paleontology. "Yet it is still possible to discover completely unique and remarkable species. If dinosaur ecosystems were that diverse, who knows what astonishing beasts are waiting for us to discover?"

    The little guy probably ate plants and bugs about 150 million years ago. Larger dinosaurs might not have posed much of a threat because Fruitadens was tiny and fast enough to dart away from the lumbering beasts.

    Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute of the Natural History Museum said Fruitadens haagarorum is named after where the bones were found and the president of the museum's board of trustees, Paul Haaga.

    The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, located at 900 Exposition Blvd., is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6.50 for children.