When much-beloved Motörhead frontman Lemmy left our planet for a more metal one back in 2015, the world mourned. But now, the iconic musician has been immortalised in a way we know he’d approve of — by getting a prehistoric beast named in his honour.
Image Courtesy of Mark Witton
Recently, scientists studying the fragmentary skeleton of a marine crocodile relative at the Natural History Museum in London realised the bones had been wrongly classified for over a century. The group fossils had originally been dug up near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in 1909 — at the time, researchers had mistakenly categorised these particular fossils as a different kind of sea crocodile. Apparently, researchers dug up a bunch of bones at this particular clay pit and mistakes were made. It happens.
Now, a team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh have given the fossils a new classification and name, inspired by the aforementioned rock god. Lemmysuchus, or “Lemmy’s crocodile”, was as brutal as its name suggests, terrorising the waters around modern-day Britain and France 164 million years ago, in the Middle Jurassic. According to the researchers, the 6m-long beast was even nastier than its closest relatives who munched on fish — Lemmysuchus used its broad, flat teeth to snack on sea turtles. All the gruesome details are in the researchers’ new study, published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.
So while the man who once invited people to “love [him] like a reptile” is gone, a terrifying reptile bearing his name will live on. In a museum.
“Although Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015, 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,” Natural History Museum curator Lorna Steel, a co-author on the study, said in a press release.