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ANZU

a caenagnathid oviraptorosaurian dinosaur from the the Late Cretaceous of North America.
Anzu
Pronunciation: AHN-zoo
Meaning: Demon bird
Author/s: Lamanna et al. (2014)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Dakota, USA
Chart Position: 706

Anzu wyliei

Named after a bird-like demon from Mesopotamian mythology and affectionately referred to as "the chicken from hell", Anzu was discovered in the aptly-named Hell Creek Formation and is North America's most complete and largest known oviraptorosaur, but it's also one of the youngest as it lived during the latest Maastrichtian right at the end of the age of dinosaurs.

Specifically a caenagnathid oviraptorosaur, Anzu is known from three specimens which together account for 80% of a skeleton, one of which has a broken and heeled rib and another a damaged toe, which is no suprise bearing in mind they shared their eco-system with Tyrannosaurus rex. What is suprising, however, is that two groups of scientists from two different museums were studying specimens of Anzu found in two different places — quarries in North and South Dakota — but they didn't realise it until they met at a Society of Vertebrate Paleontology conference in 2005. After which they pooled their fossils and took eight years to think of a name.

Caenagnathidae — the group of casque-topped critters to which Anzu belongs — was coined by Sternberg in 1940 but has remained mysterious due in no small part to the fragmentary remains of its members. Being almost completely known, Anzu afforded paleontologists their first good look at the evolutionary relationships and anatomy of these enigmatic "egg snatchers", which not only confirmed Microvenator and Gigantoraptor as basal members of the group but also hinted that caenagnathids were ecological generalists that fed upon vegetation, small animals, and anything else they could lay their robust beaks on.
(Wylie's demon bird)Etymology
Anzu is the namesake of Anzu (aka Imdugud), a bird-like demon or "storm bird" from Mesopotamian mythology who is most famous for steeling Enlil's tablets of destiny. Understandibly miffed, Ea and Belet-Ili conceived the war god Ninurta especially to retrieve said tablets and Anzu was killed in the process. That's one version of events, anyway.
The species epithet, wyliei, is named after Mr. Wylie J. Tuttle, the dinosaur-loving grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Lee B. Foster, in recognition of their generous support of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum.
Discovery
The first remains of Anzu were discovered in the uppermost level of the Hell Creek Formation, Harding County, South Dakota, USA, by Fred Nuss (of Nuss Fossils) in November, 1990, during his honeymoon with new bride Candace. The holotype (CM 78000) is a partial skeleton. A second specimen (CM 78001) was discovered less than 80m away, and a third (FMNH PR 2296) was found in the same Formation at Slope County, North Dakota.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-66 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 3.5 meters
Est. max. hip height: 1.5 meters
Est. max. weight: 200 Kg
Diet: Omnivore
References
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ANZU :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 24th Jul 2017.
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