New Dino Species One Of Youngest On Record

Mar 19, 2014

A feathered, beaked dinosaur discovered in the Northern Plains states has ties to Utah.

Emma Schachner is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Utah, and is part of the team that discovered the dinosaur in the mid-2000s.

Researchers say Anzu wyliei was five feet tall and eleven feet long.
Credit Matthew C. LamannaHans-Dieter SuesEmma R. SchachnerTyler R. Lyson

The dinosaur, called Anzu wyliei, was announced in a PLOS ONE journal article Wednesday.

Schachner said the dinosaur would have lived in a warm, humid environment along the flood plains of a river around 65 million years ago.

“It had a really large crest on its head and it had a beak, so there were no teeth, really long forearms, a shorter tail than most of its close relatives, and it was about five feet tall at the hip and approximately eleven feet long,” Schachner said. “So, it was a pretty big animal.”

Anzu wyliei was discovered in the Northern Plains of the United States. White stars indicate where fossils were discovered.
Credit Matthew C. LamannaHans-Dieter SuesEmma R. SchachnerTyler R. Lyson

The discovery is significant because of the species’ size. Anzu is the second largest known oviraptorosaur, second only to a relative found in Asia. It’s also significant because of its age, explained Schachner.

“It’s one of the youngest dinosaurs ever known. So, for example, we live closer in time to Anzu than Anzu did to Stegosaurus,” Schachner said.

Schachner says Anzu was a contemporary of Tyrannosaurus. A cast of the dinosaur is on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.