A dinosaur fossil unearthed in the desert of northern Montana has been named Zuul, after the “terror dog” featured in the hit film Ghostbusters.
The four-legged herbivore with spikes and tail shaped mace – officially known as Zuul crurivastator – measured six meters long, weighed two tons and lived 75 million years ago.
The name was inspired by the similarities between its skull (above) and the head of the hit 1984 film’s Zuul – an ancient demigod that was represented as a large dog-like monster with red eyes and horns:
Thanks to the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) was able to acquire this very complete and well preserved fossil for scientific research and to share with the public.
And none other than original Ghostbuster, Dan Aykroyd – who came up with the concept for the film franchise at his Kingston area family home – visited the ROM to take a look at his creation’s namesake.
— ROM Palaeontology (@ROMPalaeo) May 10, 2017
“We’re so honoured 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,” said Aykroyd, in a video posted by the museum.
This species belongs to a group of dinosaurs called the Ankylosaurus from the Cretaceous period. With a very thick shell from the nose to the tip of their tail, the species was additionally bolstered with spikes and a tail that could be used to crush the legs of any predator that tried to take them down.
In fact, the species name crurivastator means ‘destroyer of shins’, a reference to the Zuul crurivastator’s sledgehammer-like tail.
Dan Aykroyd is a long time supporter of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Alberta, donating his time and effort on multiple occasions to promote the museum. In a Globe & Mail interview, the museum’s CEO and President described both Dan Aykroyd and his wife, actress Donna Dixon, as its ambassadors-at-large and advisers.
In recognition of their support, there is a theatre inside the museum called the Aykroyd Family Theatre – the only theatre formally partnered with National Geographic in Canada.
Dan Aykroyd happens to be the second celebrity with a Kingston area connection to visit the Royal Ontario Museum this month. On May 6th, the museum featured a photo exhibit by Kingston-born singer/songwriter Bryan Adams as part of its exclusive ROM Ball.
Learn more about Zuul crurivastator at its page at the ROM website and the videos below
Videos, photos and screencap: Royal Ontario Museum