Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur at the ROM

New Ankylosaur makes its world debut this winter at the ROM!

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to announce plans to unveil the Museum's newest dinosaur: the exceptionally preserved and newly named ankylosaur, Zuul crurivastator. The 76 million-year-old dinosaur specimen - one of the most complete ankylosaurs ever discovered - will take ​centre stage in the ROM-original exhibition ZUUL: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur, presenting sponsor Sinking Ship Entertainment. The exhibition opens to the public December 15, 2018, just in time for ROM for the Holidays.

"We are thrilled to be introducing Toronto and the world to an extraordinary new dinosaur. The acquisition of Zuul not only enhances the ROM's reputation as a leading scientific institution, but represents a significant new addition to our globally renowned collection of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and fauna," says Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO. "With the generous support of presenting sponsor Sinking Ship Entertainment, and our team of renowned invertebrate paleontologists and exhibition developers, we look forward to presenting a truly unique exhibition that will inspire and delight visitors of all ages."

Named by ROM scientists in 2017, this new species of ankylosaur has a short snout, long horns behind the eyes and on the cheeks, and gnarly face resembling ​Zuul, the fictional monster from the 1984 film Ghostbusters. Its species name, crurivastator, means 'destroyer of shins' for its menacing, weapon-like tail club. Discovered in Montana just 50 kilometres south of the Alberta border, in the rocks of the Judith River Formation, the ankylosaur fossil is one of the most complete and well-preserved specimens of its kind ever found anywhere in the world.  It has a complete skull and tail club as well as preserved soft tissues that will provide a rare and exciting opportunity for new, cutting-edge scientific research. Zuul was acquired by the ROM through the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust.

Dr. David Evans, the exhibition's curator and the ROM's James and Louise Temerty Endowed Chair of Vertebrate Palaeontology, says: "Zuul not only enables us to unlock clues about armoured 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." The exhibition is co-curated by armoured dinosaur expert Dr. Victoria Arbour. Together, the curators named and described Zuul as a new species of dinosaur in 2017.

Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur will take visitors beyond museum walls to the badlands of Montana, in an immersive experience that recreates the Cretaceous world Zuul inhabited. Through cutting-edge technology and interactive storytelling, the exhibition explores how this mighty dinosaur, bristling with armour and a menacing tail club, lived. Working closely with ROM's exhibition development team, Presenting Sponsor Sinking Ship Entertainment will help to bring the experience to life for ROM visitors.

"We are thrilled to be working alongside Canada's leading Museum to present this never-before-seen exhibition," says J.J. Johnson, partner at Sinking Ship Entertainment. "At Sinking Ship we pride ourselves on the work we do to entertain, educate and inspire young audiences. This partnership has been an incredible one – allowing us to expand on our ground breaking interactive experiences to engage visitors of all ages."

Sinking Ship Entertainment will be providing CGI animation for Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur, as well as creating an interactive game for visitors. In early 2020 the Emmy-winning media company will be releasing the feature film DINO DANA: THE MOVIE, which was both filmed at the ROM and includes Zuul as part of the film's epic dinosaur adventure storyline. The film will see a museum theatre release launch in mid-2020 after its initial theatrical window.

For more information on Zuul: Life of an Armoured Dinosaur, visit www.rom.on.ca/en/exhibitions-galleries/exhibitions/zuul.

Photos courtesy of the ROM
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