Friends, there’s a new ankylosaur today! Meet Zuul crurivastator, the Destroyer of Shins, an ankylosaurine dinosaur from the Judith River Formation of Montana, published today at Royal Society Open Science. Zuul is known from an amazingly complete skeleton with preserved soft tissues and an absolutely killer tail club. Head on over to the official ROM Zuul site for photographs, illustrations, videos and more, and follow #DinoZuul on Twitter for updates from me, David Evans, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Ok folks, somebody please give me the Z page in the dinosaur alphabet books. I’m going to keep naming ankylosaurs starting with Z until you do, and it’s starting to get a bit out of hand. Thanks Danielle Dufault for the, as always, stunning illustration.
I am just thrilled to have been offered the opportunity to work on this beautiful fossil. Not too long after I received word from NSERC that I was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to go to the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum, David Evans let me know there was a cool ankylosaur project in the works – and sure enough, just before I arrived in Toronto in September 2016, our new Judith River ankylosaurid arrived, too. Thanks for the amazing welcome to the lab, David!
Naming Zuul is just the first of several research projects we have in the works for this special ankylosaur – we’re going to hunt for ancient biomolecules in the soft tissues, study the taphonomy and age of the quarry, and describe the numerous other vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant fossils found alongside Zuul, just to name a few projects in the works right now!
I am extremely fortunate to work with a huge team of professionals at the ROM who helped with the research and public promotion of this new species – never has an ankylosaur been so popular and treated with such star power. Thank you all! And a special thanks also to Dan Aykroyd for his blessing on naming our new creature after his ‘terror dog’!
Elsewhere in North American ankylosaurs: