Giant reptile named after Jim Morrison
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Rock singer Jim Morrison was honored by palaeontologists who have given his name to a giant lizard.A giant lizard that lived 40 million years ago at a time when Earth was a hothouse has been named in honor of rock singer Jim Morrison, palaeontologists said yesterday.
Around 1.80 meter from snout to tail and tipping the scales at up to 27 kilos, the plant-eating reptile is one of the biggest-known lizards ever to have lived on land. It competed with mammals for food in the humid tropical forests of Southeast Asia.
A fossil of the beast, found in sediment in Sagaing district in Myanmar, has been dated to the late-middle Eocene period, when Earth was so hot there was no ice at its poles. “We think the warm climate during that period of time allowed the evolution of a large body size and the ability of plant-eating lizards to successfully compete in mammal faunas,” said Jason Head of the University of Nebraska who led the analysis. The palaeontologists have named the long-extinct species Barbaturex morrisoni.
“Barbaturex” means “bearded king,” after the team found ridges on the underside of the jaw that give lizards a beard-like appearance. “Morrisoni” is in tribute to Doors frontman Morrison, famed for his fascination with reptiles and shamanism.