Small Dinosaurs

When people think of dinosaurs, their minds immediately think of behemoths like T-rex or Diplodocus. But several of these creatures were much smaller than one would imagine, only about the size of a housecat or a rooster.

Small Dinosaurs

List of Small Dinosaurs

1. Epidexipteryx hui

Length: 0.81 ft

Epidexipteryx hui was a small paravian dinosaur determined from a partial skeleton in Beijing. It is one of the earliest examples of a dinosaur with ornamental feathers.

2. Parvicursor remotus

Length: 1.25 ft

Parvicursor remotus was a maniraptoran dinosaur whose remains were first discovered in Mongolia. It was around during the Late Cretaceous.

3. Archaeopteryx lithographica

Length: 1.7-1.8 ft

Archaeopteryx was an avian dinosaur that lived in the Late Jurassic. It lived in the part of Europe that is currently southern Germany.

4. Harpymimus okladnikovi

Length: 1.96 ft

An ornithomimosaur from the Early Cretaceous period that lived in what is currently Mongolia, Harpymimus okladnikovi is one of the few ornithomimosaurs to have teeth still. However, they were limited to their lower jaws.

5. Anchiornis huxleyi

Length: 1.97-2.03 ft

Anchiornis is a paravian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic whose name in Latin means “near bird.” 

6. Compsognathus longipes

Length: 2.3-4.6 ft

Compsognathus is a small carnivorous theropod that is the size of a small chicken on average, though larger specimens exist. It lived in what is modern-day Europe in the Late Jurassic Period.

7. Juravenator starki

Length: 2.46 ft

A coelurosaurian theropod that lived in the Painten Formation, which would later be known as modern-day Germany, Juravenator was a bipedal carnivore known from a single skeleton.

8. Procompsognathus triassicus

Length: 2.5-3.3 ft.

A coelophysid theropod from the Triassic era, Procompsognathus was a bipedal carnivore that has been found in what is modern Germany.

8. Microraptor zhaoianus

Length: 2.5-3.9 ft.

Microraptor was one of the most common non-avian dinosaurs of its time, the early Cretaceous. Its fossils have mostly been found in China, around the coastal province of  Liaoning.

9. Gasparinisaurus cincosaltensis

Length: 2.6 ft.

Gasparinisaurus cincosaltensis was an ornithopod from the Late Cretaceous, whose fossils have mostly been found around Cinco Saltos in Argentina. It was a herbivore that walked on two legs and had a long, round head.

10. Podokesaurus holyokensis

Length: 3 ft.

Podokesaurus holyokensis was a coelophysoid dinosaur in the Early Jurassic, whose name could be roughly translated to “swift-footed lizard of Holyoke.” It was made the state dinosaur of Massachusetts in 2022.

11. Mononykus olecranus

Length:3.3-3.9 ft

During the Late Cretaceous period, Mononykus olecranus was a long-legged dinosaur with shaggy feathering that walked the Earth 70 million years ago. Its forelimbs are specialized for foraging mounds for insects like termites.

12. Alvarezsaurus calvoi

Length: 3.3-4.6 ft.

Alvarezsaurus was a bipedal theropod from the Late Cretaceous period. It lived in what is currently modern Argentina, and its tail and hind legs indicate that it was a fast-running dinosaur.

13. Buitreraptor gonzalezorum

Length: 4.9 ft.

Buitreraptor gonzalezorum is a dromaeosaur that walked the Earth during the Late Cretaceous, with its fossils being discovered in the Candeleros Formation in Argentina. It had a long head with rows of tiny teeth.

14. Oviraptor philoceratops

Length: 5 ft.

The Oviraptor was a dinosaur living in Asia during the Late Cretaceous, whose name meant egg thief. It was given this name because the first fossil of this dinosaur was seen near a nest of eggs, though nowadays, it is believed that the nest belonged to the Oviraptor.

15. Masiakasaurus knopfleri

Length: 5.9-6.6 ft.

Masiakasaurus knopfleri was a noasaurid theropod from the Late Cretaceous that was found in what was modern-day Madagascar. Its teeth protruded forward, indicating a specialized diet, most likely consisting of fish.

16. Borogovia gracilicrus

Length: 6.6 ft.

A troodon from the Late Cretaceous Period whose fossils have been retrieved from Mongolia, Borogovia got its name from the ‘Borogoves’ in the Lewis Carroll poem “Jabberwocky” in his story “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.”