World's smallest dinosaur is no more: 2-inch creature likely a lizard instead

World's smallest dinosaur is no more: 2-inch creature likely a lizard instead

Just a few months after a group of researchers trumpeted their discovery of the world's tiniest dinosaur, the same researchers have retracted their findings, noting it was likely a lizard instead. The reclassification of the reptile, known as Oculudentavis khaungraae, comes after a separate group of researchers questioned the findings and study methodology that had been published on the bioRxiv server. "We, the authors, are retracting this Article to prevent inaccurate information from remaining in the literature," the initial researchers wrote in an article in the scientific journal Nature. "Although the description of Oculudentavis khaungraae remains accurate, a new unpublished specimen casts doubts upon our hypothesis regarding the phylogenetic position of HPG-15-3." WORLD'S SMALLEST DINOSAUR DISCOVERED: 'WE'VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT' What clued the second group of researchers that O. khaungraae was likely a lizard was the structure that housed its eyes. "Regardless the intriguing evolutional hypotheses about the bauplan of Mesozoic dinosaurs (including birds) posited therein, this enigmatic animal, however, demonstrates various lizard-like morphologies, which challenge the fundamental morphological gap between Lepidosauria and Archosauria," the second group of researchers wrote in their study. "Here we reanalyze the original computed tomography scan data of Oculudentavis. A suit of squamate synapomorphies, including pleurodont marginal teeth and an open lower temporal fenestra, overwhelmingly support its squamate affinity, and that the avian or dinosaurian assignment of Oculudentavis is conclusively rejected." O. khaungraae was found encased in Burmese amber in 2016 and likely lived in what is now Myanmar 100 million years ago and "looks ...
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