Thursday 11 May 2017

There is no dino, only Zuul

How's this for a news item that combines my interests? Palaeontologists in North America have released their newest discovery, an astonishingly complete ankylosaurid dinosaur fossil that they have named Zuul in honour of the monstrous Terror Dog from 1984's Ghostbusters. The find is exciting because complete dinosaur fossils are rare enough, but a complete ankylosaur is virtually unheard of. Zuul has the first complete skull and tail club ever found for an ankylosaurid, and includes many osteoderms - the lumps of bone that were embedded in the skin and used as armour. These usually wash away over time due to being disconnected from the main skeleton.

Given the resemblance of the ankylosaur's skull to the horned face of the Ghostbusters monster, the discoverers named the species Zuul crurivastator. The specific name does not mean "ankle biter," as some outlets are reporting (for a start, this thing was huge), but "shin destroyer," in reference to that great tail weapon. 

The LA Times has a video of Dan "Ray Stantz" Aykroyd with the fossil.

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