Yep. The new species, which is described in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, resembled a 7-foot-tall turkey. Lindsay Zanno--the lead dino-digger from the University of Utah who found the fossil--says that the two-legged creature was probably brightly colored, ran as fast as an ostrich (about 25 mph), and ate meat.
This raptor (predator) lived some 75 million years ago and appears to be related to species found in Canada and the northern United States. Indeed, the fossil, which was found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near the Arizona border, now gives dinosaur researchers added reason to believe that raptors roamed from Canada to northern New Mexico about 75 million years ago. "This is the southernmost occurrence of this group, and the skeleton's about two times the size of the ones up north," Zanno says.
While Zanno and her colleagues don't know whether the big bird had a feather fan on the back of its tail, its close cousins did, so it's possible. Scientists are not sure what purpose the feathers served, but they were not for flying. "It's quite different from modern birds," she says of the new creature.
Zanno named the dinosaur Hagryphus giganteus, or "giant, four-footed, birdlike god of the Western desert," but we think that you can do better. Send your suggestion to "Thanksdigging Turkey," ODYSSEY, 30 Grove St., Suite C, Peterborough, NH 03458. Or email it to email@example.com. We'll publish some of your choices in an upcoming issue.
O'Meara, Stephen James. "It's a dinosaur, Turkey!(Science Scoops)(Brief article)." Odyssey Nov. 2006: 5. Popular Magazines. Web. 10 June 2010.
Gale Document Number:A159389998