Scientists from the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Natural History have discovered the remains of a new bird-like, meat-eating dinosaur in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah.
The new dinosaur was formally named Hagryphus giganteus, which means “giant four-footed, bird-like god of the western desert” in reference to the animal’s outward resemblance to a large land bird, its giant stature, and its discovery in the Utah desert.
Only the hands and feet of Hagryphus were found, but the scientists were able to use the animal’s close relatives in Asia to estimate it to be around 7 feet tall! It is a member of the oviraptorosaurs, a group of bird-like feathered dinosaurs with toothless beaks, powerful arms and formidable claws. They are thought by some paleontologists to have been omnivorous, feeding on a mixture of meat and plants.
The scientific paper naming and describing this critter was published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, A new Oviraptorosaur (Theropoda, Maniraptora) from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian) of Utah (abstract only).
CNN also has a video interview with the paleontologists available online.
(Illustration by Michael W. Skrepnick)