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Anzu, new large-bodied oviraptorosaurian from Hell Creek Cretaceous beds



From: Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com

New in PLoS ONE:

Matthew C. Lamanna, Hans-Dieter Sues, Emma R. Schachner & Tyler R. Lyson (2014)
A New Large-Bodied Oviraptorosaurian Theropod Dinosaur from the Latest
Cretaceous of Western North America.
PLoS ONE 9(3): e92022.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092022
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0092022


The oviraptorosaurian theropod dinosaur clade Caenagnathidae has long
been enigmatic due to the incomplete nature of nearly all described
fossils. Here we describe Anzu wyliei gen. et sp. nov., a new taxon of
large-bodied caenagnathid based primarily on three well-preserved
partial skeletons. The specimens were recovered from the uppermost
Cretaceous (upper Maastrichtian) Hell Creek Formation of North and
South Dakota, and are therefore among the stratigraphically youngest
known oviraptorosaurian remains. Collectively, the fossils include
elements from most regions of the skeleton, providing a wealth of
information on the osteology and evolutionary relationships of
Caenagnathidae. Phylogenetic analysis reaffirms caenagnathid
monophyly, and indicates that Anzu is most closely related to
Caenagnathus collinsi, a taxon that is definitively known only from a
mandible from the Campanian Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta. The
problematic oviraptorosaurs Microvenator and Gigantoraptor are
recovered as basal caenagnathids, as has previously been suggested.
Anzu and other caenagnathids may have favored well-watered floodplain
settings over channel margins, and were probably ecological
generalists that fed upon vegetation, small animals, and perhaps eggs.