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The Chicken From Hell Gets A Scientific Name (And Other Funny Dino Monikers)
March 20, 2014
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For the past decade, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh has been home to the Chicken from Hell. Or at least its bones. The mysterious dinosaur got that unusual nickname mostly because of its resemblance to a bird — albeit one that's about 2.1 metres tall, weighs 226 kilograms and has a funny boney crest on its head — and because the bones were found in the Hell Creek geological formation in Montana and the Dakotas.

This week, science finally gave the "Chicken from Hell" a proper scientific name, along with a few more vital statistics. In an article published in the journal PLoS One, the beast was formally declared Anzu Wyliei. The name is a mashup of a mythological feathered demon and the name of a Carnegie museum trustee's grandson, Wylie J. Tuttle. 

In Sumerian mythology, Anzu is a giant bird that can breathe fire and water, which is said to have stolen the Tablets of Destiny in an attempt to determine the fate of all things. In short, he's kind of an evil, demonic bird — not far off from the chicken from hell.

In addition to giving it a new name, researchers also learned some other cool facts about this beast. It's said to have walked the earth about 66 million years ago. It was probably a vegetarian, since it doesn't have any teeth. And given the shape of its legs, researchers believe it was fast. 

"These fossils are some of the most interesting new dinosaurs to come out of North America over the past decade," Stephen Brusatte, a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, told The Guardian. "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 they were real. They had big crests on their skulls, a beak, no teeth and a very bird-like skeleton."

In the gallery above, we've collected some other dinosaurs with funny names because...well, because why not?


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