Who you gonna call? Dinosaur named for
'Ghostbusters' beast Zuul
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[May 11, 2017]
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was more of a leg
buster, but scientists have named a spiky, tank-like dinosaur that
wielded a sledge-hammer tail after the fanciful beast Zuul from the
blockbuster film "Ghostbusters" that menaced Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd
The scientists on Tuesday described fossils unearthed in the northern
Montana badlands of the four-legged, plant-eating dinosaur called Zuul
crurivastator that was about 20 feet (6 meters) long, weighed 2-1/2 tons
and lived 75 million years ago.
Zuul belonged to a group of Cretaceous Period dinosaurs called
ankylosaurs that were among the most heavily armored land animals ever.
They were clad in bony armor from the snout to the end of the tail,
often with spikes and a tail club that could be used to smash the legs
of predators like the Tyrannosaurus rex cousin Gorgosaurus that lived
Zuul is one of the most complete and best-preserved ankylosaur ever
found, including rare soft tissue, paleontologist Victoria Arbour of the
Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto said. Its fossils included skin
impressions and keratinous sheaths on the tail spikes.
In the 1984 movie, Zuul (pronounced ZOOL) was described as an ancient
Near East demigod and appeared as a big, horned, vaguely dog-like
monster with glowing red eyes, possessing Sigourney Weaver's body.
The dinosaur's name was inspired by its skull similarities to the head
of the "Ghostbusters" monster, Royal Ontario Museum paleontologist David
"The skull of the new dinosaur has a short, rounded snout, gnarly
forehead, and two sets of horns projecting backwards from behind the
eyes, just like Zuul," Evans said.
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A life recreation of the newly discovered armored dinosaur named
Zuul crurivastator from northern Montana seen in this illustration
provided by the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, handout
photo received May 9, 2017. Illustration by Danielle Dufault/Royal
Ontario Museum/Handout via REUTERS
Aykroyd, the Ontario-born "Ghostbusters" star and co-writer,
appeared in a video released by the museum alongside the dinosaur's
skull, holding a photo of the movie beast.
"We're so honored that the Royal Ontario Museum would accord the
name of this magnificent creature with the appellation that we
called our 'terror dog' in the movie, and that is Zuul, Z-U-U-L,"
The dinosaur's tail, about 10 feet (3 meters) long, was an
intimidating defensive weapon.
"The menacing, spiked tail of Zuul is by far the coolest part of the
animal," Evans said. "It has a wicked series of large spikes at the
base of the tail, then a series of elongated, peaked spines that run
the length of the tail club, and it ends in a massive, expanded
The research was published in the journal Royal Society Open
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)
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