Yale scientists have discovered an ancient, small, insect-eating lizard in the badlands of Montana and have named it Obamadon, after President Obama. The lizard, which is less than 30cm long and had “elaborate teeth with three cusps on each tooth and a slender jaw”, existed 65 million years ago.
Researchers from Yale and Harvard discovered Obamadon, or Obamadon gracilis if you want to get scientific, by re-examining fossils across the country to try and figure out what happened to lizards and snakes when dinosaurs started dying off. The name Obamadon was actually given before the election results but if the election went a different way, well, Yale palaeontologist Nicholas Longrich says:
“I was seriously thinking, if the election had gone the other way, I would have yanked it,” Longrich said. “It might have seemed like we were mocking it, naming a lizard that goes extinct after that, seemed kind of cruel.”
So what happened to lizards and snakes when the mass extinction of dinosaurs began? According to the scientists who discovered Obamadon speculate that because the ecosystem collapsed, insect-eating reptiles probably did better since bugs probably survived when plants and other dinosaurs couldn’t. Why the Obamadon name? Just from the smart-ass idea of naming a dino after the President. Seriously, Longrich said, “it was catchy, and it seemed like a fun thing to do.” For sure. [Boston, NBC News]
Art: Carl Buell