Photos: See the Armored Dinosaur Named for Zuul from 'Ghostbusters'

A Ghostly namesake

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

An armored dinosaur known as an ankylosaurus looked so much like Zuul from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters" that paleontologists made the monster the dinosaur's namesake.

The newly discovered dinosaur, Zuul crurivastator (CRUR'-uh-vass-TATE'-or), had a short, rounded snout; large horns; and a gnarled appearance, just like Zuul, the fictional Gatekeeper of Gozer in "Ghostbusters."

The skeleton of Z. crurivastator was found in the Judith River Formation in Montana in 2016. The beast lived there about 75 million years ago. [Read the full story on the Zuul-like ankylosaurus and watch the video, with a cameo from "Ghostbusters" actor Dan Aykroyd]

Zuul crurivastator

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Danielle Dufault/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The ankylosaurus's name is, without a doubt, stupendous. The genus name is a nod to its fictional twin, Zuul from "Ghostbusters," and the species name combines "crus," the Latin word for "shin," with "vastator," the Latin word for "destroyer."

Hence, the dinosaur's name translates to Zuul, destroyer of shins — a reference to the weapon-like club at the end of the dinosaur's tail.

Spiky dinosaur

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Danielle Dufault/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

Z. crurivastator had several rows of bony spikes covering its entire 20-foot-long (6 meters) body.

Comparative analysis

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Danielle Dufault/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

For size comparison, here is Z. crurivastator standing next to an adult human.

Clubbed tail

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The study's lead researcher, Victoria Arbour (left), and senior researcher David Evans (right) sit next to the tail club of Z. crurivastator.

Amazing detail

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The dinosaur's fossilized tail has bony spikes and a preserved imprint of skin.

Ankylosaurus dinosaurs likely used their tails for self-defense, as well as to fight rivals for mates and territory, the researchers said.

The skull

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The skull of Z. crurivastator.

"Remarkably, [Zuul] is the first ankylosaurin skeleton known with a complete skull and tail club, and it is the most complete ankylosaurid ever found in North America," the researchers wrote in the study.

Zuul's club

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The club at the end of Z. crurivastator's 10-foot-long (3 m) tail.

Toothy photo

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(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

A view of the teeth on Z. crurivastator's lower jaw. The dinosaur might have looked fearsome, but it was an herbivore, the researchers said.

Soft tissue

ghostbusters dinosaur

(Image credit: Brian Boyle/Copyright Royal Ontario Museum)

The preserved soft-tissue sheath of a bony spike on the tail of Z. crurivastator.

[Read the full story on the Zuul-like ankylosaurus and watch the video, with a cameo from "Ghostbusters" actor Dan Aykroyd]