Paleontologists at the Royal Ontario Museum have named a new, perfectly preserved Ankylosaur specimen, Zuul, like the 1984 Ghostbuster monster and minion of Gozer. The dinosaur was discovered in northern Montana in the Judith River Formation and is a close relative of the ankylosaurs.
The Horned Monster Was a Destroyer of Shins
When she first laid her eyes upon the remains of the dinosaur, Victoria Arbour knew she had to name it Zuul, after the eponym character in the 1984 Ghostbusters movie. David Evans, her colleague, was also reminded of the Gatekeeper of Gozer when analyzing the fossils, Zuul’s name becoming the first scientific name derived from nerd culture.
Despite being a convinced vegetarian, Zuul was not the kind of animal you wanted to stumble upon during a trek. Its impenetrable armor made it immune to any form of attack, while its powerful tail was used with extreme precision, crushing the bones of any dinosaur stupid enough to get in its range. Therefore, Arbour and Evans decided that the second name of the dinosaur should be destroyer of shins, or crurivastator.
The Ankylosaurids Were Bona Fide Living Suits of Armor
Sporting a long tail equipped with a massive club, the Zuul crurivastator was able to smash anything that approached him. If the deadly portable weapon was not enough, the dinosaur was also equipped with osteoderms – a unique pattern made out sharp, pointed bones that acted as a heavy armor.
Ankylosaurids – Zuul’s dinosaur family – were veritable living tanks. The reptiles were covered in thick armor, some species even developing armored eyelids, leaving no weak spot exposed. For years, anthropologists tried to learn more about how the dinosaurs used their massive ornamentations for defense purposes, but they never managed to come upon a well-preserved specimen. Until now, that is.
Zuul somehow managed to pass the test of time. Its iconic tail, its skull, and a big part of its skeleton are perfectly preserved – offering paleontologists a once in a lifetime opportunity to study the remains of an armored dinosaur.
Furthermore, thanks to the fossil’s pristine condition, the dinosaur’s distinctive elements (the peaked rough ornamentation that starts between the eyes and goes along the snout and the distinctive horns found at the back of its skull) were perfectly visible. This helped paleontologists determine Zuul’s family and genus faster.
With Zuul becoming the first ankylosaur named after an element belonging to nerd culture, we are excited to see what will come next. A new pterodactyl named after GoT dragons or a mollusk borrowing the name of a Pokemon?
Image Source: Wikipedia