Canadians will be able to see for themselves how the “Destroyer of Shins” looked 76 million years ago. The dinosaur was uncovered in Montana, south of the Alberta border, in 2014 and has now been acquired by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
Its nickname is Zuul, as it looks like a hell monster from the movie Ghostbusters. Because it was so well preserved, paleontologists were looking at a complete skeleton, from snout to tail, and it even contained fossilized skin.
Zuul was a plant-eating dinosaur, measures seven meters in lengths and would have had three tons. It has a short snout and long horns on its cheeks and behind the eyes. It has a tail like a sledgehammer, to protect itself from predators.
Museum paleontologist David Evans stated:
“I think it’s the most beautiful specimen we will ever see.”
The ROM had part of the dinosaur – the head and tail, but the rest of the body is still inside 30,000 pounds of rock. The remains encased in the rocks are currently being worked on in Trenton by Research Casting International (RCI). One of the employees at RCi, Amelia Madill explained that since February, they’ve started removing rock from the fossil:
“I’ve been using a mini-jackhammer to chip away the matrix from the bone. It’s so exciting to work on because there are only a couple of mummified dinosaurs out there. This will give us an actual picture of what it looked like.”
Evans added that they found a lot of preserved skin, explaining that this will help them figure out how the dinosaur looked like when it was alive.
“Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur” will be displayed at the ROM starting on 15 December, when people would be able to see the entire fossil.
Evans concluded that this dinosaur “not only enables us to unlock clues about armored dinosaur evolution and how they lived, but also the rich fossil fauna found with Zuul lets us paint a vivid picture of its lush ancient world and reflect on climate change and extinction.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.