Hell Chickens Are Now A Real Dinosaur

By April Ryder | Published

Paleontologists recently uncovered a new bird-like species of dinosaur in the Hell Creek formation (a well-known dig site for capturing life leading up to the end of the Cretaceous Period) near Jordan, Montana. Another addition to the category of avian dinosaurs, the freshly dubbed “Hell Chicken” species is closer to a “six-foot turkey” than it is to a lovable little chicken. 

Chickens The Size Of An Adult

The Hell Chicken would have stood tall enough to look a grown man in the eye. The feathers on the bird-like dinosaur would have been large and equipped with quills. It had a large, toothless beak and a curved neck. 

The official name given to the new species by scientists is Eoneophron infernalis. The discovery of this new Hell Chicken dinosaur species uncovered elements of youth and a thriving species, suggesting that the dinosaurs were doing just fine before the giant asteroid showed up and killed almost all of them (except the avian dinos). 

Rethinking Dinosaurs

In an ongoing scientific discussion, some believe the dinosaurs were on the decline and already on their way out the door before the asteroid struck the planet. However, paleontologist findings are beginning to suggest otherwise after the discovery of two new species of dinosaurs (the Hell Chicken and Anzu Wyliei) in the Hell Creek area. 

Hell Chickens Aren’t The Largest Avian Dinosaurs

Jurassic World Dominion

Another bird-like species discovered in the same area was featured in a separate published study from the caenagnathid species, Anzu Wyliei. Anzu would have lived between 66 and 68 million years ago, and paleontologists first thought their discovery was just a young specimen of the Anzu. 

However, the Hell Chicken showed a few distinct and dissimilar signs compared to Anzu. The Anzu would have been the size of a grizzly bear as far as weight is concerned, and the Hell Chicken seemed notably smaller. This newly discovered avian dinosaur would have only stood about waist-high with a long curved neck that made it a little taller. 

A Missing Link In The Evolution Of Birds

jurassic world dominion dinosaurs teaser

In addition to being much smaller (but still huge in terms of birds) than the Anzu, the Hell Chicken had a bend in its femur and two fused ankle bones that no one had ever seen before. Though it’s not uncommon to find evidence of dinosaurs experiencing significant morphological changes as they grow from a baby to an adult, their findings got even more unique once they started looking at the inside of the bones. 

Researchers Can Tell How Old The Hell Chicken Was

When researchers took a closer look at the bones of the Hell Chicken, they created thinly sliced pieces to get a clearer picture of the specimen’s age. Just like a tree has rings that show how old it is, bones display growth rings for each year of development.

The Hell Chicken Fossil Is An Adult


When the discovered Hell Chicken bones were analyzed, they showed clear evidence that the dinosaur they found was not a baby at all. The microscopic analysis of the bone showed that the dinosaur they found was around 6 or 7 years old. 

In addition, the development shown between the rings told scientists that the Hell Chicken’s growth had recently slowed, meaning it was close to its adult size. If the dino bones they found were from a specimen that was nearing adulthood, then it couldn’t be a baby Anzu. It was something new.

Source: PLOS One