New Horned Dinosaur Uncovered with Unique Wing-Shaped Headgear (Representational Image)
New Horned Dinosaur Uncovered with Unique Wing-Shaped Headgear (Representational Image)Reuters

Scientists have recently uncovered a weird bird-like dinosaur's fossil remains in the Hell Creek formation in North and South Dakota.

The 66-million-year-old featured fossil resembled a long necked emu with long tail and a tall crown on its head. The forelimbs had sharp and long claws. The adult bird-like dinosaur weighed about 300 kgs.

For more than a decade, researchers have uncovered three parts of the animal's skeletons, but only recently they could classify it as a new genus and species of dinosaur called Caenagnathidae. The fossil remains are currently at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

Scientists have nick named the remains as 'chicken from hell' because of its bird-like resemblance, but later gave a more formal name, Anzu wyliei. In ancient mythology, Anzu was the name of a huge bird-like demon and Wyliei comes from Wylie J Tuttle, who funds in the research work at the museum.

The animal was from a group called the oviraptorosaurs, found from fossils in Central and East Asia, but the remains provided the first evidence of North American oviraptorosaurs.

"For almost a hundred years, the presence of oviraptorosaurs in North America was only known from a few bits of skeleton, and the details of their appearance and biology remained a mystery. With the discovery of A. wyliei, we finally have the fossil evidence to show how this species looked like and how it is related to other dinosaurs." Guardian quoted Hans-Dieter Sues, curator of vertebrate palaeontology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Anzu is not the largest oviraptorosaurs found till date. Another species named Gigantoraptor was discovered in 2005 in Inner Mongolia which was about eight meters long and weighed over a tonne. "We're finding that the caenagnathids were an amazingly diverse bunch of dinosaurs," said Matthew Lamanna from Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

"These fossils are some of the most interesting new dinosaurs to come out of North America over the past decade," said Stephen Brusatte, Vertebrate Paleontologist, University of Edinburgh.

"Oviraptorosaurs are one of the most bizarre groups of dinosaurs to ever live. This new dinosaur, Anzu, looks like something that was placed in the Cretaceous by a Hollywood monster movie director. Looking at these animals, it's hard to believe that they were real. They had big crests on their skulls, a beak, no teeth and a very bird-like skeleton," Brusatte added.