We are a nation obsessed with dinosaurs. And zombies. Clearly the next step is demonic zombie chicken-like dinosaurs. Well, do we have news for you! Back in March, scientists announced that they had found the dinosaur “chicken from hell.” Standing on two legs, at 11 feet tall and weighing in at 500 pounds, we bring you the oviraptorsaur Anzu wyliei.
Oviraptorosaurs are feathered dinos, and most of their fossils have been found in what is now Asia. This new cache of fossils has definitively shown that these fancifully feathered Asian dinos and enfluffled1 North American dinos are related, but not the same group – think scientific group not the “Plastics.”
In keeping with the hell chicken theme, another demonic dinosaur has also been announced recently. Meet “Hellboy”, an unusual horned dinosaur discovered in southern Alberta, Canada.
“Hellboy” is really named Regaliceratops peterhewsi and frankly we don’t see the resemblance, but sure, okay.
R. peterhewsi is important because it is a rare example of evolutionary convergence: when an organism evolves from one lineage while at the same time developing traits from another one.
In this case, all those frills and horns on “Hellboy” looks like the ornamentation of Centrosaurus, but scientists think that Centrosaurus were extinct by the time R. peterhewsi emerged. Instead, “Hellboy” evolved as part of the Chasmosaurines sub-family–the sub-family that includes Triceratops. Bam! evolutionary convergence!
And just in time for the release of Jurassic World, scientists have decided that they may be able to create dino clones after all. For quite some time, it was going to happen tomorrow, and then they were pretty sure that wasn’t going to be a thing, and then maybe it would be, and now Sergio Bertazzo, Susannah Maidment, and their colleagues announced in Nature that they believe they have studied 75 million year old dinosaur blood cells. So…maybe we can have pet T. Rex’s? We’re not quite sure, given how many grand dino cloning pronouncements there have been. What we do know: selectively breeding chickens for dino traits actually seems equally as promising as anything involving DNA.
[Featured Image courtesy of Batty.]
I totally stole this term from Brian Switek’s post, Hooray for Dinofuzz, in National Geographic‘s Phenomenon Blog, December, 2012 ↩