Crocodile Fossil Named After Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister

Oceane Deschanel
Agosto 12, 2017

The rock "n" roll world lost one of its apex predators when Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister died in December 2015, and now some hard-partying scientists at the University of Edinburgh have further secured the Motörhead frontman's immortality by naming an ancient crocodile after him.

The suggestion to honour heavy metal bass player Lemmy came from Natural History Museum curator and Motorhead fan Lorna Steel.

It has now been named Lemmysuchus, which translates as "Lemmy's 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 says in a statement that "we'd like to think that he would have raised a glass to Lemmysuchus".

Lemmysuchus obtusidens - meaning "Lemmy's blunt-toothed crocodile" - belonged to an extinct group of marine crocs known as teleosaurs.

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The Lemmysuchus, or Lemmy's crocodile, was originally improperly categorized along with remains of other sea crocodiles found in the area, but as scientists uncovered more about the species Steel saw an opportunity to pay respects to the Motorhead rocker.

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.

"It can be hard to identify new species as we are normally working with incomplete fossil skeletons", Ms Johnson, a PhD student, said.

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