Researchers find vicious dinosaur “chicken”

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

dino chicken illustration
The dinosaur was a strange cross between a lizard and a chicken.

Researchers have known for a long time that birds descended from dinosaurs, but if there was any doubt left, a newly discovered dino will quash them all. It’s called the Anzu wyliei, and it looked like a freaky cross between a skinny lizard and an angry chicken!

The dino belonged to a special class known as oviraptorosaurs, which roughly translates into egg-stealing dinosaur. The 500-pound creature had a strong, toothless bill, and sharp, skinny claws. These characteristics would have been useful for eating other animals, plants, and eggs. Its body could grow up to more than 10 feet long – tail included – and the dino chicken stood at a modest height of 5 feet. The most intriguing feature, however, is the fact that it was covered in feathers!

In order to discover what Anzu wyliei looked like, researchers combined multiple sets of incomplete skeletons to frame the picture. Apparently, it was a feisty creature too, because the skeletons featured broken toes, broken ribs, and head injuries that must have been very painful. All these crazy features combined – ranging from the plumes of feathers to the battle injuries – earned the beast the nickname “The Chicken from Hell”.

According to the researchers, it lived about 66 million years ago and roamed what is now known today as North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana in the USA.

Images courtesy of Smithsonian Science.