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Feathered Dinosaur: ‘Chicken from Hell’

ESF Top 10 New Species of 2015

  • Life reconstruction of the new oviraptorosaurian dinosaur species Anzu wyliei
    Illustration: Robert Walters, Walters & Kissinger

  • “Anzu on display @ CMNH”: Mounted replica skeleton of the new oviraptorosaurian dinosaur species Anzu wyliei on display in the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
    Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH)

  • “Anzu on display @ CMNH”: Mounted replica skeleton of the new oviraptorosaurian dinosaur species Anzu wyliei on display in the Dinosaurs in Their Time exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
    Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH)

  • Life reconstruction of the new oviraptorosaurian dinosaur species Anzu wyliei in its ~66 million- year-old environment in western North America.
    Illustration: Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Feathered Dinosaur: ‘Chicken from Hell’

ESF Top 10 New Species of 2015

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About the Feathered Dinosaur

Name: Anzu wyliei

How it made the Top 10:  With a mixture of bird and dinosaur features, Anzu wyliei is from a bird-like group of dinosaurs that lived in North America. A contemporary of the more famous T. rex and Triceratops, this species made nests and sat on the eggs until they hatched. Among their bird-like features were feathers, hollow bones and a short snout with a parrot-like beak. These omnivores appear to have lived on floodplains eating vegetation, small animals and possibly eggs. Three well-preserved partial skeletons were discovered in North and South Dakota, in the Hell Creek Formation. Because some caenagnathids were chicken-sized, this new dinosaur was dubbed “chicken from Hell.” However, at more than 10 feet in length (3.5m), 5 feet in height (1.5m) and 600 pounds (200-300kg), this was no chicken.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Sauropsida

Order: Saurischia

Family: Caenagnathidae

Size: Length 3.5 m, height at hip 1.5 m, body mass 200-300 kg.

Etymology: The genus name Anzu derived from ancient Mesopotamian mythology for a feathered demon.  The specific epithet is a patronym for Mr. Wylie J. Tuttle, grandson of museum patrons.

Type locality: USA, South Dakota, Harding County

Holotype: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh

More information: Lamanna, Matthew C., Sues, Hans-Dieter, Schachner, E. R., and T. R. Lyson. 2014. A new large-bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Western North America.  PLoS One 9: e92022.

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