Scientists from the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada have discovered a new species of armored dinosaur and have given it a name that will be very familiar to “Ghostbusters” fans.
The new species of ankylosaur was named Zuul crurivastator after the Mesopotamian beast Zuul, who took its place in the cult film zeitgeist after it appeared in Dana Barrett’s (Sigourney Weaver’s) fridge in 1984’s “Ghostbusters,” later possessing her just before her date with Bill Murray’s character, Peter Venkman.
After Venkman recognized that Dana wasn’t quite acting like herself, Zuul dropped its facade and famously growled, “There is no Dana! Only Zuul!”
The team of scientists gave the newfound dino the name after noticing a resemblance between it and the movie creature — due to its flat, wide head and small horns.
(Composite image from CBC)
While the dinosaur was a herbivore, it had natural defenses that could have made a formidable opponent for Zuul. Along with an armored, spiked body that could protect from attacks by predators, the ankylosaurus also had a three-meter long tail lined with spikes and sporting a club-like knob of bone at the end that could shatter the legs of carnivores. That’s why the scientists used the name “crurivastator,” which means “destroyer of shins.”
“I wanted to name something an ankle breaker because of these tail clubs,” paleontologist Victoria Arbour told CBC. “But I wanted a specimen with a nicely preserved tail, and they don’t get better than this particular specimen.”
It was a big find for the Ontario team, as the Zuul dino’s fossilized remains were extremely well preserved. The team said it’s rare for them to find a full dinosaur skeleton like Zuul’s, let alone soft tissue that allows them to analyze the creature’s armor.
“This is a really useful specimen, we can visualize what it looked like while it was alive, and it will also help with isolated bones [of other animals] and give us an idea of what we’re looking at,” Arbour said.
Check out the resemblance between the Zuul crurivastator and its “Ghostbusters” namesake in the composite image above.