| |  Print This Article

Obamadon: Researchers Name Pre-historic Lizard After Smiling President Obama

In the foreground, the carnivorous lizard Palaeosaniwa stalks a pair of hatchling Edmontosaurus as the snake Cerberophis and the lizard Obamadon look on. In the background, an encounter between T. rex and Triceratops. (Handout - Artwork by Carl Buell)

Researchers have named a newly discovered, pre-historic lizard Obamadon gracilis in honor of the 44th president's toothy grin.

The small, insect-eating lizard was first discovered in eastern Montana in 1974, but a recent re-examination showed the fossil had been wrongly classified as a Leptochamops denticulatus and was, in fact, a new species, researchers told Reuters on Tuesday.

Obamadon gracilis was one of nine newly discovered species reported on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In naming the new species, scientists from Yale and Harvard universities combined the Latin ``Obamadon'' for ``Obama's teeth'' and ``gracilis,'' which means slender.

"The lizard has these very tall, straight teeth and Obama has these tall, straight incisors and a great smile,'' said Nick Longrich, a paleontologist at the school in New Haven, Connecticut.

It was believed to have lived during the Cretaceous Period, which began 145.5 million years ago. Along with many dinosaurs from that era, the lizard died out about 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid struck earth, scientists say.

Longrich said he waited until after the recent U.S. election to name the lizard.

"It would look like we were kicking him when he's down if he lost and we named this extinct lizard after him,'' he said in an interview.

"Romneydon'' was never under consideration and "Clintondon'' didn't sound good, said Longrich, who supported Hillary Clinton's failed run against Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Obama is not the first politician whose name has been used to help classify organisms. Megalonyxx jeffersonii, an extinct species of plant-eating ground sloth, was named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, an amateur paleontologist who studied the mammal.

In 2005, entomologists named three species of North American slime-mold beetles agathidium bushiagathidium cheneyi and agathidium rumsfeldi in honor of the then-president, vice president and secretary of defense.

Other celebrity names also have been used to name new species. A small Caribbean crustacean has been named after reggae icon Bob Marley, an Australian horsefly has been named in honor of hip-hop star Beyonce, and an endangered species of marsh rabbit has been named after Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

Short URL: http://www.hawaiireporter.com/?p=229045

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

News Cycle on The Rick Hamada Show








Recently Commented

  • Guest: HERE'S HECO's response to PUC; "Hawaiian Electric’s plan for energy future relies on LNG...
  • Guest: " Visitor arrivals during the first half of 2014 were down by 0.5 of a percent, but the number of...
  • epigonus: How far back does the past go?
  • hawaiirep: Good idea Ian. The attorney general does not really tell the media what is going on with the case, because...
  • Linda Vannatta: Of course David Louie is looking after Pflueger. Jimmy Plfueger at one time was worth 70 million. I...