Nickname: “C1” and “C2”
Discovered By: Fred Nuss, 1999
Discovery Location: Harding County, South Dakota
Diet: Small Animals (Carnivore)
Age: 66 million years
Formation: Hell Creek
Length: 9 ft
Location of Original Specimen: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
One of the last dinosaurs to grace the planet was this extremely strange looking creature. This new genus of North American Oviraptor (family Caenagnathidae), has yet to be named or described. Compared to other oviraptors, which are predominantly found in Asia, this new genus was much, much larger. Like its oviraptor cousins, it had an unusual crest on its head that might have been multi-colored in life. Unlike other carnivorous dinosaurs, it had a toothless beak that it could use to catch and kill small prey or eat carrion. It also had extremely long claws that it may have used for defense to fend off would-be aggressors or during hunting or scavenging activities. In many respects, it resembles the modern day cassowary, a crested, flightless bird of Northern Australia and New Guinea.
The composite cast mount you see before you is based on two nearly complete skeletons discovered only a few hundred feet apart.
Though isolated bones of this animal have been found for many years in the Hell Creek Formation, these two skeletons represent the only partial skeletons known to science.