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What appeared to be the smallest dinosaur in history is an unusual lizard

Deformed skulls

The researchers used CT scans to examine both samples. Oculudentavis lizard features included scales, teeth attached to the jaw directly rather than in the sockets (such as dinosaur teeth), and a particular skull bone unique to scamats or scaled reptiles.

“The issue left us all perplexed at first because if it was a lizard, it was very unusual”, commented Arnau Bolet, from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont of Barcelona. “We conclude that both specimens are similar enough to belong to the same genus, Oculudentavis, but a number of differences suggest that they represent separate species.”

The experts also determined that the skulls of both species had been deformed during conservation. Oculudentavis khaungraae’s snout was compressed into a narrower profile, more like a beak, while O. naga’s brain box, the part of the skull that encloses the brain, was compressed. The distortions highlighted bird features on one skull and lizard features on the other, said Edward Stanley, director of the Laboratory of Digital Dissemination and Discovery at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

So things, The two tiny fossils are not of the same species, but belong to the same genus of lizard, which lived approximately 100 million years ago in the same region of the world.

Researchers are not yet sure where exactly Oculudentavis is in the lizard family, but at least now they are pointing in the right direction. What is clear is that it is a really strange animal, unlike any other lizard we have today.

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