OSU Ph.D. Student Credited With Discovery Of New Dinosaur

An OSU Ph.D. student is credited with the discovery of a new species of dinosaur and earned the right to name it Eoneophron infernalis, which translates to “Pharoah's Dawn Chicken from Hell.”

Wednesday, January 31st 2024, 6:37 pm



An OSU Ph.D. student is credited with the discovery of a new species of dinosaur and earned the right to name it Eoneophron infernalis, which translates to “Pharoah's Dawn Chicken from Hell.”

“My heart skipped a beat because I never expected something like this to fall into my lap,” said Kyle Atkins-Weltman, who is now an OSU Paleontology Ph.D. Student.

He is the first OSU student to be published for the discovery of a dinosaur.

“This is what I want to do with the rest of my life,” he said.

He and a team of scientists worked together to analyze bones recovered from South Dakota first thought to be something else.

Dinosaur BonesImage Provided By: Kyle Atkins-Weltman

“That's why it was so surprising to find a new species of dinosaur,” said Atkins-Weltman, “This thing was definitely not that.”

He named the species in part after a pet monitor he once had, named Pharoah, and the rest is the moniker of the larger group of animals that resemble large chickens. This one was smaller than most but could still weigh 200 pounds.

Dinosaur RenderingImage Provided By: Zubin Erik Dutta

“I think that a name should evoke a feeling from someone because then it will stick with you, and you'll remember it,” he said.

The finding came during fossil-guided research on how dinosaurs moved. Atkins-Weltman sent a collection of bones to OSU Professor Dr. Holly Woodward Ballard, who cut cross sections from the fossils and recognized an adult bone from what was supposed to be a juvenile fossil.

“I'd say this critter is approaching adult size,” she said. They put it together. The bones had been misidentified.

The discovery and recognition have only solidified Atkins-Weltman's chosen career path. “It's so much fun, so fulfilling, so exciting to be in this field.”

To read the peer-reviewed article, click here.

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