In a new publication in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers revealed their recent discovery of the Zuul crurivastator. The specimen, a new genus of the Ankylosaurus species, was discovered in the Judith River Formation of northern Montana.
As the team pointed out, this is the most intact ankylosaurus specimen found in North America to date. Bearing a Ghostbusters-inspired name, the newly discovered dinosaur bears a striking resemblance to the demonic demigod of the same name featured in the movie.
“Crurivastator” or the latter part of its name translates to “destroyer of shins”. Contradictory to its ominous title, this dinosaur was not a predatory animal. Instead, it appears to have been a peaceful vegetarian. One that reserved its clubbed tail only for predators.
The species most likely roamed North America, particularly the Judith River Formation area. It did so during the late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago.
Zuul Is Quite An Extraordinary Discovery
Typical finds from the Judith River Formation consists of teeth and bone fragments. The discovery of a partially mummified specimen with preserved soft tissue is considered exceptionally rare. Researchers also refer to this new specimen as ROM 75860 and regard it as one of the best finds from this region to date.
It could very well be the most complete ankylosaur skeleton found in North America, ever. With a complete skull, tail club, and viable soft tissue, it could prove to be of great help. Thanks to Zuul, scientists may better identify other ankylosaurines in future digs.
“ROM 75860 represents a new ankylosaurine genus and species, Z. crurivastator from the Judith River Formation.”
The completeness of the Zuul crurivastator makes it a pretty important as it could also help researchers better understand the evolution of the ankylosaur in the late Cretaceous period. It could also potentially indicate the richness in biodiversity of the Judith River Formation of northern Montana. In its turn, this may also place the region on the map for future potentially abundant finds.
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