ROM names new dinosaur species after a Ghostbusters villain

May 11 2017, 4:29 pm

There’s a new villain in Toronto.

Sort of.

Scientists at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have identified a new species of anklylosaurid or armoured dinosaur, Zuul crurivastator (Zool CRUR-uh-vass-TATE-or) and they have appropriately named it “Zuul.”


Life restoration of Zuul/Danielle Dufault (ROM)

For the 80s kids in all of us, “Zuul” is the name of a fictional monster from the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters. 

Zuul’s skeleton was acquired by the ROM last year, and the ROM describes it as one of the most complete and best preserved skeletons of this group of dinosaurs ever found.

The new 75-million year old, plant-eating dinosaur looks like Zuul, with its short, rounded snout and prominent horns behind the eyes.

“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,” said Dr. Victoria Arbour, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) postdoctoral fellow at the ROM and University of Toronto, expert on armoured dinosaurs and lead author on this new study.

“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,” she said.

Zuul was found 25 km from the Alberta border, in badlands along the Milk River. A ROM team led by Dr. David Evans has been working in the same layers of rocks for almost 15 years as part of the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project.

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