Colorado dinosaur discovery – Fruitadens

Fruitadens artist rendering
An artist’s rendering shows the Fruitadens, the smallest dinosaur on record. The Fruitadens is named after the city of Fruita and was discovered nearby in the 1970s. | Drawing by Smokeybjb /


The beaked Fruitadens, the smallest dinosaur on record, was named after the town of Fruita after its discovery nearby by paleontologist George Callison for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Callison found the incomplete jaws, vertebrae and partial hind limbs as part of a dig in the 1970s in the Fruita Paleontological Area, which is managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

German paleontologist Richard Butler formally described and named the dinosaur in 2009.

The dinosaur was just 28 inches long, weighed just 1.7 pounds, had short arms and used its legs to dart around larger dinosaurs. It is believed to have eaten plants, eggs and insects, using an unusual mix of canine teeth in the front of its jaws and molars along its cheeks.