Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Newly identified Jurassic crocodile named after Motorhead's Lemmy

Newly identified Jurassic crocodile named after Motorhead's Lemmy

Lemmy died at the tail end of 2015, but the late Motörhead frontman has posthumously been given the greatest honor any human could hope to achieve: A badass prehistoric crocodile has now been named after him. Lemmysuchus was thought to be a relative of other species of the coastal warrior, but a re-examination found sufficient differences for paleontologists to decide it needed naming as a specific thing all of its own.

When it became clear that there was a distinction between the new croc and its relatives, a name change was in order.

Teleosaurids were a clade of crocodylomorphs that attained near-global distribution during the Jurassic Period. "Steneosaurus" obtusidens is a little-studied macrophagous species from the Oxford Clay Formation (Callovian, Middle Jurassic) of the United Kingdom and near Migné-les-Lourdines (Middle Callovian) in France. Although three different synonymies have been proposed (variously a subjective synonym of other taxa), these taxonomic hypotheses have not been based on detailed anatomical comparisons and thus have not been tested. It believed to have inhabited the area around what is now modern-day Europe, according to The Natural History Museum in London.

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".

The monster that terrorised coastal waters around Britain more than 145 million years ago had a skull measuring just over 3ft long and large, blunt teeth ideal for crushing bones and turtle shells.

A palaeoartist's reconstruction of Lemmysuchus (Lemmy's crocodile) obtusidens (blunt toothed). The reconstruction contains details relating to Motörhead, with the pattern on the head based on the band's logo.

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