Scientists discover new species of horned, club-tailed dinosaur in Montana after its death

Scientists discover new species of horned, club-tailed dinosaur in Montana

Montana,May10:Scientists have discovered a new species of horned, club-tailed dinosaur with a spooky resemblance to the monstrous demigod Zuul, one of the villains of the 1984 movie.

The ankylosaur, described in Royal Society Open Science, could shed light on the surprising diversity of these creatures near the end of the age of dinosaurs.

Zuul crurivastator’s scaly body stretched some 20 feet long, with an impressive tail that took up half that length. Its tail was lined with forbidding spikes and ended in a sledgehammer-like club. Two horns sat on its skull right behind the eyes, giving it a very Zuul-like look that inspired the genus name.

Size comparison of Zuul crurivastator and a modern human.
Size comparison of Zuul crurivastator and a modern human. (Danielle Dufault / Royal Ontario Museum)

As big as a rhino, but with more spikes

Z. crurivastator weighed in around 5,500 pounds, which is about the size of a white rhinoceros, said study leader Victoria Arbour, a paleontologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Fearsome as it may look, this dinosaur was a plant eater that roamed present-day northern Montana some 75 million years ago. This specimen was discovered while scientists were digging up another dinosaur and a bulldozer apparently encountered the ankylosaur’s tail. (A small fragment came off in the process but was easily reattached later, Arbour said.)

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