Saturday May 13, 2017

Spectacular new armoured dinosaur was a 'destroyer of shins'

Life drawing of Zuul crurivastator

Life drawing of Zuul crurivastator (Danielle Dufault © Royal Ontario Museum)

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This week paleontologists from the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto unveiled the latest addition to their dinosaur menagerie: a massive, rhinocerous-sized armoured dinosaur they're calling Zuul - because of its striking resemblance to the demon-monster in the original Ghostbusters movie.  

Skull of Zuul crurivastator

Skull of Zuul crurivastator (Brian Boyle/Royal Ontario Museum)

The fossil's formal name is Zuul crurivastator, and the second part of its name translates as "destroyer of shins," in reference to its massive spiky and club-like tail that would have been a fearsome weapon against the legs of predators attacking the low-slung ankylosaur.   

According to the researchers who described it, ROM Curator of verterbrate paleontology Dr. David Evans, and colleague postdoctoral researcher Dr. Victoria Arbour, Zuul is immaculately preserved and nearly complete - right down to soft tissue like its covering scales.