The Elements of Evolution (21-12-1) Anzu


Anzu was another bird-like dinosaur of the Cretaceous; dubbed the “chicken from hell” by its discoverers. Anzu was an oviraptorosaur, characterized by a beaked, parrot-like skull, with or without a bony crest atop its head.

Oviraptorosaurs were a group in the maniraptoran clade, which included both bird-like and non-avian dinosaurs. Maniraptorans had long arms and 3-fingered hands. They are the only dinosaurs with breast bones: an avian trait. The only dinosaurs to ever fly were maniraptorans, though how far back they first took flight remains unknown. Birds are maniraptoran descendants.

Like other theropods, oviraptorosaurs were feathered. Some had feather-adorned tails, which males shimmied as a courtship display.

Anzu stood 1.5 meters high and reached more than 3 meters from beak to tail. An adult weighed up to 300 kg.

Aznu resembled a beefy emu. The creature had a long neck; its head topped with a tall, thin crest. At the end of its forelimbs were long, sharp claws.

Anzu lived on ancient floodplains, omnivorously feeding on plants, small animals, and possibly eggs. It had a huge beak with sharp edges, and a strangle sliding jaw joint used to cut vegetation and meat.

Like birds, Anzu had hollow bones. As with Struthiomimus, Anzu‘s meter long tail precluded flight.