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Big (Scary) Bird!

March 20th, 2014

Anzu wyliei drawing by Matt Klingler, courtesy of Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs often have some pretty scientific names, including the one for a new dinosaur announced this week is called: Anzu wyliei. But this one’s drawing more attention for its nickname: “the chicken from hell.”

Scientists have cautioned that you wouldn’t want to meet this thing in a dark alley. Thankfully, you won’t have to. It lived about 66 million years ago in the Cretaceous period (right before the extinction of dinosaurs).

Anzu is about 11 feet tall, 500-pounds, with a skull that looks a bit like a gladiator helmet, a beak-like mouth and a reptile-looking tail. Did we mention it had sharp claws? And, frankly, it probably ate whhhatteevvver it wanted to. Yikes!

The bones for this dinosaur were actually found about a decade ago in the U.S., in the North and South Dakota area known as the Hell Creek formation — an area known for dinosaur bones.

Scientists were only recently able to put together a variety of its bones and figure out what it probably looked like. Anzu was  unveiled by paleontologists including Matt Lamanna, who’s with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Some of the bones were actually found by a then-high school student named Tyler Lyson, who lived in the area, a report on NPR said. Fossil hunters would hire him … and his mom would bring out a lawn chair and watch him while he searched with paleontologists. He now works at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Matt Lamanna says it’s also an exciting discovery because this new species shows that there are more discoveries out there. He was quoted on NPR saying, “What else is waiting for us out there in some of the far reaches of the world? That’s one of the most exciting things to me about being a dinosaur paleontologist.”

Maybe you could make the next big find!

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