Meet Lori, a tiny dinosaur that may help explain how birds evolved flight
The chicken-size carnivore from the late Jurassic is already ruffling feathers among paleontologists.
A fluffy, three-foot-long killer found in Wyoming is the oldest known relative of Velociraptor discovered in North America, paleontologists announced today. Named Hesperornithoides miessleri, the ancient animal is also the smallest dinosaur yet found in the state, which until now has been known for fossils of celebrity behemoths such as Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, and Stegosaurus.
The newly described dinosaur, reported today in the journal PeerJ, specifically comes from a layer of roughly 150-million-year-old rocks called the Morrison Formation, which covers a vast swath of the western U.S. centered on Wyoming and Colorado.
“When you’re working in the Morrison, you’re expecting to only find big stuff—even an isolated vertebra of Diplodocus is almost as big as this entire skeleton,” says study coauthor