Smallest dinosaur footprint
Dromaeosauriformipes rarus
1.033 centimetre(s)
Korea, Republic of (N/A)

The smallest dinosaur footprints found to date are didactyl (two-digit) tracks that measured on average 10.33 millimetres (0.40 inches) long and 4.15 millimetres (0.16 inches) wide, as described in a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports on 15 November 2018. The tracks have been assigned to a new ichnogenus/ichnospecies (a genus/species known only from trace fossils) belonging to the family Dromaeosauridae; it has been given the name Dromaeosauriformipes rarus. The dromaeosaurs were a group of small-to-medium theropods that flourished in the Cretaceous period (145–66 million years ago). The diminutive prints, which were created by a dinosaur about the same size as a sparrow, were discovered in a Jinju Formation rock slab from the Gyeongsang Basin, near Jinju City, South Korea.

Due to limited evidence, it is unknown whether the footprints are those of a juvenile or a fully grown dinosaur.

Based on a trackway consisting of seven consecutive tracks, it’s estimated that the pace length for Dromaeosauriformipes rarus was 4.62 centimetres (1.8 inches) and the stride length was 10 centimetres (3.9 inches).

Like all raptor species, generally only two claws touched the ground when walking; the third claw was retracted like a cat’s.

The study was a collaboration between Chinju National University of Education, the National Science Museum, the Cultural Heritage Administration and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (all South Korea), the China University of Geosciences (China), the University of Colorado Denver (USA), the Jurassic Museum of Asturias (Spain) and the University of Queensland (Australia). The study was led by Anthony Romilio from the University of Queensland, Australia.