Washington – Scientists have found the fossilized remains of a creature they are calling the "chicken from hell," a dinosaur weighing some 225 kilograms (about 500 pounds) with sharp claws that inhabited North America some 66 million years ago, according to an article published in the journal PLOS ONE.
"It was a giant raptor, but with a chicken-like head and presumably feathers," University of Utah researcher Emma Schachner said in a statement. "The animal stood about 10 feet (3.35 meters) tall, so it would be scary as well as absurd to encounter."
Matt Lamanna, of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, said that "we call it jokingly 'the chicken from hell' and I think that's a very appropriate name."
The scientific name assigned to the creature is Anzu wyliei - a combination of Anzu, a bird-like demon in Mesopotamian mythology, and wyliei, for Wylie, the dinosaur-mad grandson of a Carnegie trustee.
Scientists found three partial skeletons of the dinosaur - which, combined, make up almost one complete skeleton - while excavating on the upper level of the rocky Hell Creek formation in the Dakotas.
The area is well-known by paleontologists for the abundance of fossils of other dinosaurs found there, including Tyrannosaurus rex and the three-horned herbivore triceratops.
Schachner said that two of the specimens now on exhibit show signs of pathology: one apparently having a fractured and healed rib and the other showing some kind of trauma on a toe on one of its hind feet.