Scientists have named a newfound dinosaur “Zuul” after a monster that appears in Ghostbusters (1984).
Researchers at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) describe that dinosaur in a study published in the journal Royal Society of Open Science.
After piecing together the fossilised bones of a 75 million-year-old ankylosaurid, they noticed that it had a short, rounded snout and prominent horns and eyes, similar to Zuul.
The newly identified ankylosaurid, whose full name is Zuul crurivastator (Zuul: Destroyer of Shins) was a vegetarian, which used its long spiky tail to protect it from predators.
While the face was the inspiration for the dinosaur’s ‘Zuul’ moniker, the tail led the researchers to go for the “Destroyer of Shins” part.
Zuul would have been about six metres long (around 3 metres of which was tail) and weighed around 2,500 kg. The bones were found in a quarry in Montana, where some of the earliest North American specimens have been collected.
— ROM Palaeontology (@ROMPalaeo) May 10, 2017
75 million years ago, the quarry was a lush area teaming with other dinosaurs and crocodile-like creatures. Zuul’s bones were in remarkably great condition and scientists were able to recover a full skull, body and an entire tail. Score!
Not only that, but part of Zuul’s body was mummified, preserving the tiny sheaths that covered it like armour. Shoji Hayashi of Japan’s Okayama University of Science, who was not part of the study, told USA Today that the level of preservation is “astonishing” and should allow researchers to learn more about the dinosaur.
How about the Ghostbuster’s Zuul? I’m glad you asked.
Zuul is a demigod and the Gatekeeper of Gozer, an ancient entity summoned to New York City to destroy the world in Ghostbusters.
Zuul first appeared in Dana Barrett’s (Sigourney Weaver) refrigerator (yes, refrigerator) back in 1984. Zuul then entered the “real world” breaking out of a Gothic statue and possessing Dana. Spooky!
Ultimately, Zuul’s goal is to prepare for the coming of Gozer, but for some reason, it has to do this by seducing the terminally nerdy Louis Tully (Rick Moranis).
The whole thing probably hasn’t aged too well, especially through the lens of modern feminism and gender politics. But hey, the 80s were a strange time, OK? We were still figuring stuff out.
At the end of Ghostbusters (1984), Zuul is defeated by the gang and turns back into stone. However, in a post-credits scene for the new Ghostbusters movie (2016), Zuul is mentioned again, hinting at a possible return.
This is all great news for the Zuul fans out there. At least if it does come back, we know who to call.