Scientists Name New Dinosaur Species With Two Horns And Spiked Tail After 'Ghostbusters' Character
Fans of the 1984 classic Ghostbusters would likely remember the hellish gatekeeper of New York, named Zuul, who possessed Sigourney Weaver's character in the film. Scientists have now named a dinosaur after the horrifying monster.
Paleontologists from the Royal Ontario Museum uncovered evidence of a new species of ankylosaurid, or armored dinosaur. The skull of the dinosaur bears a striking resemblance to the fictional Zuul monster from the movie. This similarity led scientists to name the new species Zuul crurivastator.
How Does The New Ankylosaurid Resemble Zuul?
The sample of the dinosaur's remains that scientists at the Royal Ontario Museum received were quite well preserved. They were able to study the features of the ankylosaurid's skull extensively and arrived at the conclusion that it bore plenty of similarity to the Zuul.
For instance, like Zuul, the new species featured a short rounded snout with two distinct horns behind the eyes. These horns were unique to the dinosaur species and helped identify it as a new member of the known ankylosaurid.
"I half-jokingly said that it really ought to be Zuul," paleontologist Victoria Arbour recalls how the name came up.
She added that the study's lead David Evans instantly agreed to the name and thought it apt for the 75-million-year-old dinosaur species.
Other Features Of Zuul Crurivastator
The plant-eating dinosaur's body likely sported similar spikes and horns for defense. However, one of the most unique features of the species is the club-like bone formation at the end of its tail. This is what led to the second part of its name "crurivastator," which means "destroyer of shins".
Paleontologists believe that the club-like tail was used as a weapon against predatory dinosaurs. It could also have been used to fight other members of its own species for mating contests.
"I've been working on ankylosaurs for years, and the spikes running all the way down Zuul's tail were a fantastic surprise to me — like nothing I've ever seen in a North American ankylosaur. It was the size and shape of the tail club and tail spikes, combined with the shape of the horns and ornaments on the skull, that confirmed this skeleton was a new species of ankylosaur," Arbour stated.
Scientists estimate that Zuul was around 20 feet in length and weighed around 5,500 pounds. The long tail of the species was almost 10 feet, whereas its weight can be compared to that of a white rhinoceros.
Evans noted that the bones of the creature have been well-preserved, which helped scientists in determining the exact physical traits of the ankylosaur.
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