Scientists find 'chicken from hell' dinosaur in Hell Creek formation

March 19, 2014 at 5:08 PM
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PITTSBURGH, March 19 (UPI) -- Parts of three skeletons found in the Dakotas give the first almost complete look at a mysterious bird-like dinosaur, U.S. scientists said Wednesday.

The dinosaur, formally named Anzu wyliei stood more than 11 feet long, about 5 feet tall and had an estimated weight of 440 to 660 pounds, the University of Utah said in a release. The fossils were found in the Hell Creek formation by scientists from the university, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and the Smithsonian.

"We jokingly call this thing the 'chicken from hell,' and I think that's pretty appropriate," said Matt Lamanna of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, one of the authors of a report in PLOS One.

Emma Schachner, a Utah post-doctoral fellow, said the dinosaur was a member of the oviraptorosaur group and important because it dates from the era just before dinosaurs became extinct.

"It was a giant raptor, but with a chicken-like head and presumably feathers," she said. "The animal stood about 10 feet tall, so it would be scary as well as absurd to encounter."

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