Meet Lemmysuchus, a particularly fearsome fossil sea crocodile named after Lemmy Kilmister, the late lead guitarist from the heavy metal band Motorhead.
Lemmy, who passed away in 2015, has already been immortalized by having a star named after him. A fossil worm was also named for the British guitar god but c'mon... a worm? Lemmy deserved better and now, it seems, justice has been served in the form of Lemmysuchus, terror of the Middle Jurassic period roughly 164 million years ago.
“Lemmysuchus obtusidens lived in shallow sea waters around the coast of land that would become modern-day Europe,” according to a news release issued by the National History Museum.
“Its broad snout and large blunt teeth evolved for crushing shelled prey such as turtles, in contrast to close relatives that had longer snouts and thinner teeth for catching fish.” It's estimated Lemmysuchus grew up to 5.8 meters (about 19 feet) in length with its tooth skull alone measuring a full meter (3.3 feet). The local turtles likely lived in fear of this hell-raising beast – though not for long.
The type specimen for Lemmysuchus was actually discovered in 1909 when paleontologists excavated its bones from a clay pit quarry near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK. As related by a study published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, however, the remains were incorrectly lumped in with those of other sea crocodiles found in the same quarry.
That error has now been rectified and thus a new name was needed for the reclassified croc. Leave it to Natural History Museum curator and Motorhead fan Lorna Steel to set the record straight.
“Although Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015,” stated Steel (great name for a heavy metal fan, btw), "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. As a long-standing Motorhead fan I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to immortalise the rock star in this way.” (via Ultimate Classic Rock and The Mirror)