Discover PhD student dinosaur Which he had never seen before, when he bought fossils online for his homework at university. The beaked beast, nicknamed the “Pharaoh's Dawn Chicken from Hell,” roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous Period (100.5 million to 66 million years ago) and hails from the South Dakota portion of Hell Formation Creek (dating back to about 65.5 million years ago), according to A new study was published yesterday, January 24, in the journal PLOS One.
The study's lead author Kyle Atkins Weltman, a doctoral student at Oklahoma State University, told Live Science that he bought four fossils for $5,000 in 2020 when he couldn't find the bones he needed to complete one of his early research projects.
The hind limb fossils are believed to belong to an Australian cassowary-like dinosaur, called Enzo WillieHis nickname is “Chicken from Hell”. However, when Atkins-Weltman scanned the fossils, he discovered that they belonged to an unknown species. “I felt like my heart was beating fast,” she said. “I thought, is this really happening to me, at this early stage in my career?”
How did he get the name?
After careful consideration, Atkins Weltman decided that “Eoneophron infernalis” was the appropriate name for the new species. Eoneophron combines the Greek word “eos,” meaning “dawn” — to identify the species as ancient — and “Neophron,” the genus name of Egyptian vultures, which are also called “Pharaoh's chickens.” The reference to “Pharaoh's chicken” means that Atkins Weltman included the moniker “chicken” for A. wylieii, to honor his recently deceased pet lizard called “Pharaoh.” “It was an important part of my life,” said Atkins-Weltman, who has autism. “He was an emotional support animal and helped me through the toughest parts of being a scientist and dealing with all the stress and everything that comes with it.”
The name “infernalis” comes from the Latin word for “hell” and is a reference to the “hen of hell” A. wylieii.
E. infernalis is a relative of A. wyliei in the family Caenagnathidae, both of which are oviparous dinosaurs characterized by long, slender limbs and toothless beaks. A. wyliei weighs between 200 and 300 kg, while E. infernalis weighs about 78 kg/
Size isn't the only thing that separates dinosaurs. The talus and calcaneus are fused in both Hell's Chickens, but they are also fused with the tibia in E. infernal. The study authors speculate that additional bone fusion may have allowed the new species to better cope with the stresses of running.
Study of the bones is said to have helped researchers shed light on the diversity of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period before a catastrophic asteroid strike wiped out most of them. Atkins-Weltman noted that there was a decline in groups of dinosaurs such as tyrannosaurs and lapisaurs during the last two million years of this period.
However, the extinction of dinosaurs before asteroids is still a matter of debate. However, the presence of E. infernalis, A. wyliei, and evidence of a third, undescribed species living at the same time suggests that species of parrot-like dinosaurs called caenagnathids did not disappear. “This group appears to have maintained stability and diversity, while other groups were affected by changes,” Atkins-Weltman said. “My guess is that they were omnivorous and very flexible, and they changed food sources to survive.” .
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