New Species of Dinosaur Named After Zuul from GHOSTBUSTERS

There is no Dana here, only Zuul! So make sure you get their name right, because paleontologists have actually found a Zuul in America—Northern Montana to be precise. This real Zuul is a new species of ankylosaurine dinosaur, however, and has been dubbed Zuul crurivastator as its discoverers believe it resembles the  Gatekeeper of Gozer from Ghostbusters.

And they even got Dan Aykroyd to introduce it:

The discovery of Zuul crurivastator, and the subsequent paper published in Royal Society Open Science, comes to us via Ars Technica. In the abstract for the paper, the authors, Victoria M. Arbour and David C. Evans, note that the Zuul-faced fossil was found in the Judith River Formation in Montana, a geologic formation that’s rich in fossils from the upper Cretaceous period — which took place between 80 and 75 million years ago. 

Model of an Ankylosaurus Image: Flickr / Mark Healey

Zuul crurivastator is not only a new species of ankylosaurine dinosaur (which were 2.5 ton, 20-foot-long armored dinosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous period), but also the “first ankylosaurine skeleton known with a complete skull and… the most complete ankylosaurid ever found in North America.” According to Arbour, this particular skeleton even has “fossilized skin, which is very very rare.”

The skull of this particular Zuul crurivastator was crushed under rock during fossilization however, deforming it into something resembling Falkor the Luckdragon from The Neverending Story. A simulated 3D “retrodeformation” of the skull is shown in the clip below:

Here’s a close-up of Zuul from Ghostbusters for a comparison:

Zuul Image: Columbia Pictures

Incidental to all of this Zuul-iness is this skeleton’s “complete tail club.” In fact, that tail club was the core weapon at Z. crurivastator’s disposal, as it was used as a weighted and spiked whip to crush the shinbones of its enemies — it would’ve been perfect height for Tyrannosaurus rex’s shinbones, for example. (Crurivastator literally means “crusher of shins.”)

Moving forward, Arbour notes that it’ll be an “interesting challenge… to see, and describe, and identify all of these structures that aren’t usually preserved in ankylosaurs…” It’ll also be an interesting challenge to see if this real-life Zuul also had “a lovely singing voice.”

What do you think about this Zuul-ish ankylosaurine dinosaur? Become possessed by a comment demon below!

Images: YouTube / Royal Ontario Museum

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