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Meet Zuul, the Destroyer of Shins: Newly Discovered 75-Million-Year-Old Armored Dinosaur Named After ‘Ghostbusters’ Monster

May 10, 2017 09:35 AM EDT
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The Ghostbusters monster dubbed Zuul, a horned demon-like creature who famously emerged from the refrigerator, has now inspired the name of a newly discovered 75-million-year-old dinosaur.

"Me and my co-author David Evans were batting around ideas for what to name it, and I just half-jokingly said, 'It looks like Zuul from Ghostbusters,'" co-author Victoria Arbour of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and University of Toronto told CBC News. "Once we put that out there we couldn't not name it that."

According to a report from The Guardian, the Zuul was one of the most complete specimens ever found with a complete skull, a tail club and preserved soft tissues. The scientists excavated a quarry in Montana where they were able to find the fossils in a remarkably well-preserved state.

The size of the plant-eating animal is impressive, stretching six meters (20 feet) long and weighing around 2,500 kilograms (5,500 pounds). This is roughly the size of a modern white rhino, but it's not the only reason why this ancient dino is a terrifying creature.

Like its movie namesake, the Zuul dinosaur is fearsome-looking with an armored face, a short, rounded snout and sharp horns protruding from the eyes. Its three-meter tail is a weapon in itself with a massive bony club and pointy spikes. The researchers believe the Zuul used their tails to target the legs of predators who attack them.

To pay homage to this useful skill, the researchers gave the newly discovered dinosaur the official scientific name Zuul crurivastator, which roughly translates to "Zuul, destroyer of shins".

"The preservation of the fossil is truly remarkable. Not only is the skeleton almost completely intact, but large parts of the bony armour in the skin are still in its natural position," co-author David Evans, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum, said.

The research was published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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