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Motorhead's Lemmy Gets A Giant Prehistoric Crocodile As A Namesake

A paleoartistic interpretation of <em>Lemmysuchus</em>.<em></em>
Mark Witton
Courtesy of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London
A paleoartistic interpretation of Lemmysuchus.

In addition to being rugged, ragged-mouthed and extinct, Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister and a prehistoric crocodile now also share a name.

Scientists at London's Natural History Museum found that a 20-foot-long crocodile specimen found in the early 20th century, had been miscategorized due to be being found amidst a jumble of other crocodiles in a clay pit quarry in Cambridgeshire. Correcting the record, a museum curator named Lorna Steel asked it be named after a musical idol of hers. (She has good taste.)

Lemmy Kilmister  performing on November 19, 2005 in London. The prehistoric crocodile <em>Lemmysuchus obtusidens </em>was recently named after the famed singer.
Jo Hale / Getty Images
Getty Images
Lemmy Kilmister performing on November 19, 2005 in London. The prehistoric crocodile Lemmysuchus obtusidens was recently named after the famed singer.

And so: Lemmysuchus obtusidens was born, 164 million years after it died. Roughly translated, it means "Lemmy's blunt-toothed crocodile."

"This specimen consists of a skull and most of the skeleton. It was first described as Steneosaurus obtusidens, but a re-study has shown that it is distinct from the other Steneosaurus species," writes Steel in an email to NPR. She suggested Lemmy, who passed away in 2015 while they were still studying the fossils. Her colleagues "were happy to indulge my wish to name a fossil after one of my musical heroes."

Lemmy joins a long list of musical heroes with members of the animal kingdom named after them, including: Frank Zappa, Bob Marley, Dolly Parton, Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Jennifer Lopez, James Brown, Frederic Chopin, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bono, Brian Eno, Madonna, Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Paul Simon, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sepultura, Henry Rollins and Pink Floyd.

Asked which her favorite song is, Steel says she has a lot of them — but "the most appropriate one is 'Killed by Death,' which I have asked to be played at my funeral."

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