The discovery came about after researchers, studying a pile of fossilized bones unearthed a decade ago from Hell Creek geological formation of Montana and the Dakotas, came across a new dinosaur species.
Matthew Lamanna, a paleontologist at Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, has discussed the discovery with NPR
. He notes: “if you were to take a time machine back to the end of the age of dinosaurs and encountered this animal, your first thought would probably be, ‘What a big, weird looking bird. I actually think ‘chicken from hell’ is a pretty good nickname for this thing."
The newly identified species of feathered dinosaur was about as tall as a human and roamed North America at least 66 million years ago, according to The Guardian
. The creature was likely to have been a fast-running, 500-pound, four-meter-long bird with a bony crest atop its head and five-inch claws at the end of feathered, wing-like forelimbs.
belongs to a group of dinosaurs called oviraptorosaurs that ranged in size from something akin to modern chickens to Gigantoraptor, which was twice as tall as the average human.
The species has been described in
a PLOS One
paper titled "A New Large-Bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod Dinosaur from the Latest Cretaceous of Western North America."