Hell Creek

Already this year there are two new releases from the NW United States of America: one alive, but ageing; the other dead, 66 million years ago.

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The actor Bruce Dern plays a drunken father called Woody Grant who takes his son back through their old haunts in search of hopeful treasure. They drove from Billings Montana to Lincoln Nebraska.

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Sixty six million years earlier, the “Chicken from Hell” was crossing the same territory on much the same mission. The fossil remains come from the Latest Cretaceous sediments exposed in the black areas of the map above.

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Anzu wyliei is described by MC Lamanna et al, March 19, in the on-line journal PLOS One. It had a bird-like beak, stood 2m tall and ate plants and small animals, maybe even their eggs. It was among the youngest-known ovirapterosaurs, living in well-watered flood plains and channel margins.

Like Woody Grant, they were ‘ecological generalists”.

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And like Woody Grant, they were on their way out.