The little lizard was entombed in this piece of amber and was recently found. With pointy teeth and bulging eyes, this little prehistoric animal trapped in a chunk of amber caused quite a stir when it made headlines last year. Paleontologists considered the little boy a dinosaur the size of a hummingbird.
But it turns out that the specimen was not a bird, but a small lizard, with a snout flattened in a beak from the passage of time.
Not Technically A Dinosaur
When researchers described it as the size of a hummingbird in March 2020, it was hailed as the smallest dinosaur ever found, but after 1 year of studies, clues indicated it could be a lizard, thanks to the preservation of the shoulders and the spine.
The skull is only 0.6 inches long, and its long, tapered snout with the tip of the elongated nostrils looks more like a bird’s beak than a lizard’s nose, according to the study, but this may be a product of gravity pressure and the material where it was encapsulated.
One of the reasons why the specimen may look quite different from others is due to fossilization.
“We used CT data to try to isolate all the individual bones piece by piece, so we really broke it down into its component parts,” Edward Stanley of the Florida Museum of Natural History said. “When you do that, it becomes a lot clearer: Not only is this thing a lizard, but these things are very closely-related weird lizards.”
History continues to give us fascinating moments of research, learning and discoveries. We hope that these findings continue to provide us with clues about the past of the species that inhabit Earth.