'Chicken From Hell' Unearthed in American Midwest

Courtesy of Bob Walters

ScienceShot: 'Chicken From Hell' Unearthed in American Midwest

This newly described dinosaur might look like a chicken, but don’t be fooled: It was nearly 4 meters long, weighed about 250 kilograms, and lived 66 million years ago in what is today the Hell Creek rock formation in North and South Dakota. That’s why its discoverers are calling it the “chicken from hell,” and indeed it was related to early birds and to feathered, birdlike dinos that brooded over their nests, such as Oviraptor. Scientifically, however, the team has named it Anzu wyliei—Anzu after a birdlike demon in Mesopotamian mythology, and wyliei after Wylie, the young grandson of a trustee of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, where a cast of the dino is now on display. The creature had a toothless beak, sharp claws, and a tall crest on top of its head. It is the largest Oviraptor-like dinosaur found in North America, the researchers report today in PLOS ONE.

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Posted in Paleontology, Plants & Animals