Dinosaur Era Lizard Gets Named After President Obama

By

Word Count

354 words

Reading Level

Listen to Article

President Obama already has bragging rights to a fish (Ethiostoma Obama) and lichen (Caloplaca obamae). Now, he can add one more exotic animal species to this list - A lizard that inhabited the earth 65 million years ago, during the era of the mighty dinosaur.

Nicholas Longrich, the Yale paleontologist whose team was responsible for naming the lizard said they did consider other political names like Romneydon and Clintondon - However in the end they all agreed that Obamadon gracilis seemed to be the most appropriate name for this pre-historic creature.

Literally translated as 'Obama's teeth' (Obamadon) and 'slender' (gracilis) the name pays tribute to the US President's great smile and slender physique. And of course, also describes the ancient foot-long reptile that sported tall straight incisors.

The fossils of the small lizard that scientists believe used its sharp front teeth to catch insects, were first discovered in Montana in 1974. However, when scientists examined it then they wrongly classified it as part a known group of lizards. It was only recently upon re-examination by the Yale team that experts realized it was a totally new species, one that required a special name.

Mr Longrich, who released his findings in a scientific paper earlier last month, said that this was not the only ancient creature that had been misidentified - Of the thirty specimens re-examined, nine turned out to be totally new.

This has led him to conclude that there were almost as many species of lizards and snakes as dinosaurs during the Mesozoic era, which is why he thinks that in addition to being the 'dinosaur era' it should also known as 'the reptile era'. What is even more interesting is that his research shows that almost 83 percent of the species was rendered extinct along with the dinosaurs when the catastrophic asteroid believed to have killed off the pre-historic animals hit.

President Obama is not the only celebrity to have an animal species named after him. Reggae Icon Bob Marley can claim a small Caribbean crustacean, while popstar Beyonce can be proud of having an Australian horsefly named after her!

Resources: telegraph.co.uk, cosmiclog.nbcnews.com

Cite Article
Geography
260 Comments