When we think of dinosaurs, the first image that comes to our mind is that of ferocious monsters wreaking havoc (thank you, Jurassic Park).
However, just as there are different dogs, cats, and even humans, all dinosaurs don’t come in the same scary image.
Although some weird dinosaurs roamed the earth, some species would better be described as cute, crazy as that may sound.
Some of the cutest dinosaurs in history include the chaoyangsaurus, gigantoraptor, europosaurus, and limusaurus, among others.
Here’s a list of the ten most beautiful dinosaurs ever.
These Top 10 Cutest Dinosaurs Will Melt Your Heart
Also known as the Chaoyang lizard, this dinosaur was from China and is dated between 150.8 and 145.5 million years.
It lived in the late Jurassic period going into the Cretaceous. The Chaoyangsaurus belongs to the group of herbivores known as the ceratopsians.1 2
The fossil was first discovered by Cheng Zhengwu in 1976, and fossil studies have further portrayed this dinosaur as small and adorable.
Its height is only 3 feet, and it weighs just around 30 pounds. It has tufts on its tail, and overall it looked like a pet lizard.
The Chaoyangsaurus must have fed on nuts and seeds. It possibly knew how to swim too.
The Limusaurus refers to a genus of dinosaurs from the theropod clade.
Similar to the Chaoyangsaurus, they lived in China during the late Jurassic period, around 161 to 157 million years.
While other theropods like the Yangchuasaurus were hefty, our Limusaurus friend was quite small in comparison.
It was discovered between 2001 and 2006 by a team of Chinese and American paleontologists.
It might have been around 5 ft 7 inches in length with a weight of 33 pounds.
Because of its toothless snout, paleontologists have also concluded that it was a herbivore. Its small size and fossil shape make cuteness more likely.
Minmi refers to a genus of small dinosaurs from the Ankylosaurus group in the order Ornithischia.
The group is characterized by short, powerful limbs, and minmi is not an exception.
It lived in Australia during the early Cretaceous period, around 120 to 112 million years ago.
Minmi was discovered in 1964 by Dr. Alan Bartholomai, though it was named by Ralph E. Molnar in 1980 after the Minmi crossing close to where it was found.
Ankylosaurs are usually big, but Minmi is…well…minimal. It weighs only 500 pounds with a height of around 10 pounds.
It also has a small brain that fits well into the head.
The gigantoraptor’s name stands for “giant thief,” making it one of the biggest animals on the list so far.
This is a genus of large dinosaurs from the oviraptorosaurs group characterized by feathers.
It was found in the Asian and North American regions during the late Cretaceous period.
The gigantoraptor is the biggest oviraptorosaur, and its cuteness often depends on the illustrator designing it.
One can’t deny that it most likely looked like a big chicken, increasing the likelihood of being cute.
Its diet is also a factor. Was it a carnivore or a herbivore? If it was the latter, then its cuteness is certain.
The term “Mei” is a genus of dinosaurs from the clade Troodontid, both small and bird-like.
The only species in the genus is titled mei long, which translates to “sleeping dragon.”
It lived during the early Cretaceous period. It is closely related to Troodon, a bigger species.
It was discovered in 2004 by Chinese paleontologists from the Yixian formation.
Its portrayal by artists looks duck-like, less like what we expect a dinosaur to be, and more like a prehistoric bird, which is adorable.
Of course, this lends credence to the fact that modern birds are dinosaurs.
Related: Check Out These Birds That Look Like Dinosaurs
The Leaellynasaura is a genus of dinosaurs in the Ornithischian group getting in the early Cretaceous period, which falls between 118 and 110 million years ago.
It was named after Leaellyn Rich, the daughter of the paleontologist couple that discovered it.
The name of the couple is Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich.
This species was discovered in Australia, and the portrayal from the fossil features a creature that looks like the animated version of a dinosaur in kid’s movies.
It is also pictured as having bright colors, which adds to its beauty.
The term Europosaurus covers a genus of herbivorous sauropods, of which it is the smallest.
It lived during the late Jurassic period around 154 million years ago in northern Germany.
Compared to some other dinosaurs like the Brachiosaurus and the Apatosaurus, our prehistoric friend is quite small.
The Europosaurus weighs around 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, and there’s a theory as to why it is small.
This likely has to do with its habitat. Being from a small island, it possibly evolved to a smaller size to adapt to its environment.
This is a genus of ceratopsian dinosaurs containing a single species known as Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis.
It existed during the late Cretaceous period and lived in China. It was named in 1978 by Dong Zhiming.
The Micropachycephalosaurus has the longest name any dinosaur can have, but its size doesn’t match up to the name.
When fully grown, it only gets up to 3.3 feet.
The Notronychus is a term that refers to the genus of theropod dinosaurs that lived during the late cretaceous period in North America.
There’s only one type of species, the Notronychus mckinleyi, which was described in 2001 by James Kirkland and Douglas G. Wolfe.
The Notronychus has a cousin called the Therizinosaurus, which is more common, but on a cuteness scale, the former takes center stage.
It looks like a big bird, except with no wings and a shaggy coat. It might also be herbivorous.
The unaysaurus is a genus of herbivorous dinosaurs and is one of the oldest dinosaurs known.
It also has one of the most well-preserved skeletons, especially in its hometown Brazil.
It was discovered in 1998 and announced in a press conference in 2004.
The unaysaurus is not popular and is perhaps the least on our list. It looks a little like a cross between a meerkat and a zebra, according to portrayals.
If it was still alive today, it would have been a good candidate for a pet. It seems harmless.
Beautiful Dinosaurs Help Us Appreciate Diversity
Dinosaurs aren’t only ferocious creatures as modern media have often depicted them.
Many species are cute, colorful, and usually small—though the gigantoraptor is an exception to the size.
Though these 10 cutest dinosaurs aren’t around today, they help us appreciate the diversity found amongst dinosaurs.
References & Notes
- Jurassic Period Information and Facts. National Geographic.
- Cretaceous Period. Britannica.