By JOHN GILLESPIE, Associated PressScientists have discovered a baby dinosaur that looks like a small, furry, baby dragon that lived millions of years ago in a time when the dinosaurs were extinct.
The discovery of the fossilized remains was made Wednesday by a team of scientists from the National Science Foundation and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The fossils were found in the Pueblo Formation in southwestern Colorado.
The fossilized bones have been dated to about 250 million years ago and are about 3 feet long, according to the Associated Press.
They are the smallest known dinosaur fossils in the Americas, which makes them the smallest of their kind.
The fossils are in a section of rock called the Pecan Ridge Formation that is known to contain fossils of a wide range of dinosaurs, including small dinosaurs that were nearly extinct in the past.
The fossilized dinosaur bones are believed to be a juvenile specimen of a juvenile dinosaur called a diplodocus, which is the smallest member of the group known as pterosaurs.
Researchers have previously found dinosaur bones from the same group in Peru.
They include several specimens that are believed by some to belong to the same family of dinosaurs as the fossils found in Colorado.
Researchers believe the bones belong to a species of juvenile pterosaur called a pterodactyl, a group that includes the modern-day pteranodon.
Scientists say the new discovery offers an unprecedented insight into the earliest stages of dinosaur evolution.
The new fossil finds provide the first direct evidence of the life of an ancient, large-bodied dinosaur, the researchers said in a news release.
This species is one of the few known in the world that lived from about 250 to 250 million ago, during a period of massive extinction known as the Triassic Period.
The extinction of these large, complex dinosaurs occurred about 100 million years after the formation of the Cretaceous Period.