Feathered dinosaurs and early birds are a pet subject of mine. It really feeds my imagination to re-imagine these creatures I was fascinated with growing up as the closest relatives of modern birds. I never saw the curious blackbirds pecking for worms and crickets on the lawn in quite the same way again…
PLOS ONE is reporting the finding of a new exciting species of feathered dinosaur - Anzu wyliei. It’s notable for being the first Oviraptosaurian described in North America. The description is based on three well-preserved partial skeletons and it is presumed that Anzu was feathered based on findings from closely related Asian species. Find the reference to the original article at the bottom of this post.
While closely studying three fossil skeletons from museum collections a team of scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the University of Utah, reached that “aha!” moment with the realization they had discovered a new bird-like dinosaur previously unknown to science. They named it Anzu wyliei, in part after a feathered demon from ancient Mesopotamian mythology.
An illustration of Anzu wyliei shows its long, slender ostrich-like neck and hind legs; unlike an ostrich, A. wyliei also had forelimbs that were tipped with large, sharp claws. The new species was identified by a team of Smithsonian scientists in collaboration with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and University of Utah from three partial skeletons collected from the Hell Creek Formation, providing detailed evidence of North American oviraptorosaurs for the first time. (Illustration courtesy Bob Walters)
The discovery represents the first North American example of a species belonging to Oviraptorosauria, a group of dinosaurs mostly known from fossils found in Central and East Asia.
Lamanna, M., Sues, H., Schachner, E., & Lyson, T. (2014). A New Large-Bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod Dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Western North America PLOS ONE, 9 (3) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092022