Ancient Crocodile Named After Motorhead's Lemmy

Evrard Martin
Août 12, 2017

A team of music-mad scientists unveiled an extinct, sea-dwelling crocodile from the Jurassic period on Wednesday, which they named in honour of Motorhead lead singer Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister who died in 2015.

"Although Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015", Lorna Stell of the Natural History Museum of London says, "we'd like to think that he would have raised a glass to Lemmysuchus, one of the nastiest sea creatures to have ever inhabited the Earth". Roughly translated, it means "Lemmy's blunt-toothed crocodile". "It was first described as Steneosaurus obtusidens, but a re-study has shown that it is distinct from the other Steneosaurus species", writes Steel in an email to NPR. She later told BBC, "As a long-standing Motorhead fan, I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to immortalize the rock star in this way".

Lemmysuchus was part of an extinct group of reptiles known as teleosaurs, which were distantly related to the crocodiles of today.

It lived approximately 164 million years ago in coastal waters near what is now Europe, and it measured about 19 feet (6 meters) in length and had a skull that was about 3 feet (1 m) long, according to a description in a new study.

"Following careful anatomical comparison, and by referring to the main specimen held at the Natural History Museum, we could see that most of the previous finds were actually from relatives of Lemmysuchus rather than the species itself, and we were able to assign a new name".

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