Top 10 Smallest Carnivorous Dinosaurs in the History (Tiny Dinosaurs)

The World of Dinosaurs is filled with fascination and mystery. Thanks to modern archaeology and paleontology, there is so much data on them currently. However, it is just a water droplet in an ocean.

No other animal group is so diverse, especially when body size and mass are taken into consideration. From the smallest animal to the largest land animal to have ever walked on Earth, Dinosaurs have them all.

Amidst this, an interesting question arises, “Which are the Smallest carnivorous Dinosaurs in the History?”

Therefore, in response to this question, we bring to you our today’s article, “Top 10 Smallest Dinosaurs in the History.” The comparison has been made solely based on estimates and assumptions, as for many, complete specimens are yet to be discovered.

Top 10 Smallest Carnivorous Dinosaurs in the History

10) Albertonykus

Albertonykus | Credit: Karkemish (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY 3.0)

Size: 100-110cm

Only 110 centimeters (3.6 feet) in length, Albertonykus is the smallest known alvarezsauridae ever found in North America.

Alvarezsaurs typically feature long, rigid tails, unusually short arms that were robustly constructed to hold a massive claw, and slender hind legs.

Albertonykus’ skull has not yet been discovered, but evidence from closely related Mongolian mammals suggests that they had long, slender snouts and tiny teeth comparable to those of armadillos and anteaters.

Albertonykus probably consumed insects, tearing through decaying wood with its powerful thumb claw to locate its prey.

9) Koparion


Koparion douglassi | Credits: a-dinosaur-a-day

Size: Estimated 1 m

The Koparion douglassi was a little coelurosaurian trodontoid theropod dinosaur from the late Jurassic Period is known. Its name, which is derived from Latin, means “little curved surgical knife.”

The tooth is extremely curved, two millimeters tall, and has a front edge that is substantially convex and a back edge that is almost vertical. 

The body height was somewhere between 1 m and weighed anywhere between 2.4-3 kg; however, exact details are lacking due to the absence of complete specimens. Their diet was largely a carnivorous one.

8) Saltopus

Saltopus | Credits: Fandom

Size: Estimated 80-100 cm

The Saltopus is another tiny dinosaur that has made its position in our list of the Smallest carnivorous dinosaurs. 

Their name stands for hopping foot, as it was a jumping dinosaur and was a member of the Coelosaur (“hollow tail”) family.

One of the oldest dinosaurs known, they might have lived in the Late Triassic era, in the place which we now know as Scotland.

One of the tiny dinosaurs, the Saltopus, was a very fast and agile runner, thanks to their strong back muscles. They fed mostly on lizards and insects.

7) Hesperonychus elizabethae

Hesperonychus elizabethae | Credits: Fandom

Size: Estimated under 1 m

Another smallest carnivore dinosaur is Hesperonychus elizabethae. Being a member of the Dromaeosauridae, the Deinonychus and the Velociraptor are its larger relatives.

Scientists estimate that this non-avian dinosaur was no longer than 1 m and not more than 2 kg. Scientists believe that Hesperonychus might have roamed the earth in the Late Cretaceous Period (79-65 mya).

6) Sinornithosaurus

Size: Estimated not more than 90 cm

Sinornithosaurus, whose name stands for Chinese Bird Lizard, lived somewhere around the Early Cretaceous Period. 

They were merely 3 ft long, with a maximum estimated weight of 3 kg. As primitive members of the Dromaeosaurus family, they have many similarities with the Archaeopteryx and other Avialae.

 This species of raptor was venomous and used its fangs and venom for hunting down small birds. They were group hunters and were quite agile beings.

5) Nqwebasaurus

Nqwebasaurus | Credit: Jurassic Park Wiki- Fandom

Size: 70-90 cm

Next up, we have another tiny dinosaur, the Nqwebasaurus, who inhabited the Southern part of Africa in the early Cretaceous Period. 

These therapods had a long hand with three fingers, characterized by a partially opposable thumb.

The presence of gastroliths raises some confusion as it is a typical characteristic of herbivores; we must not forget that certain carnivores had gastroliths, too, like the Lourinhanosaurus.

Nqwebasaurus had a height of 1.3 ft and were 2.5 ft long, with small lizards, mammals, and reptiles comprising its primary diet.

4) Compsognathus

Size: 60-90 cm

The next dinosaur in our list of the Smallest Carnivorous dinosaurs is the Compsognathus. 

Being among the tiny dinosaurs and having streamlined bodies, they were able to run so swiftly that scientists labeled Compsognathus as the fastest dinosaur.

Their sizes vary from location to location, from the size of a chicken to that of a turkey. 

The remains of other smaller lizards inside their bellies indicate that they were carnivorous. Compsognathus lived during the Late Jurassic Period.

3) Ligabueino andesi

Ligabueino | Credits: fandom

Size: 79 cm

The next animal on our list of the Smallest carnivorous Dinosaurs in History is the Ligbueino andesi. 

This genus of noasaurid dinosaurs derives its name from its discoverer, Italian physician Giancarlo Ligabue, and means “Ligabue’s small one.”

Its single known example is a 79 cm (2.6 ft) long, highly fragmented specimen from the La Amarga Formation.

The specimen was a youngster despite initial reports claiming it was an adult due to the unfused vertebrae. It was a theropod that lived in what is now Patagonia during the Early Cretaceous Period (the Barremian to the early Aptian).

2) Lagosuchus

Lagosuchus | Credits: Fossil Wiki-Fandom

Size: Estimated 51 cm

Lagosuchus belongs to the Avenetatarsalian archosaurs from the Late Triassic period, a genus that is now extinct.

It had traits with certain dinosaurs in that it was a light-built archosaur with long, slender legs and well-developed feet.

It was probably a quick-moving biped with running adaptations due to its small forelimbs, long shin bones, and narrow stance. 

According to Thomas Holtz, Lagosuchus may have grown to a total length of 1.7 feet (51 cm) and weighed about as much as a pigeon (50-500 g). They were among the tiniest land predators.

1) Parvicursor

Parvicursor | Credits: Dinopedia-Fandom

Size: 39 cm

Parvicursor is the smallest carnivorous dinosaur humanity knows to date and belongs to the non-avian category. Belonging to the Manireptorans, the Parvicursor is one of the Smallest carnivorous Dinosaurs in History that existed in Late Cretaceous Mongolia. 

As an Alvarezsaur, their hands underwent reduction to a single claw. 

This non-avian dinosaur did not reach lengths more than 39 cm, with a body weight of nearly 5 lbs (2.27 kg).

Long slender legs made them highly agile and swift. There were primarily insects like termites and small lizards in their diet.

Here we conclude our article on the Top 10 Smallest carnivorous Dinosaurs in History. We will be bringing more articles on the mysterious world of dinosaurs, so stay tuned for them.

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