Jurassic-era crocodile named after rock band Motorhead singer Lemmy


"Lemmysuchus"-Latin for Lemmy's crocodile-was about 5.8 metres (19 feet) long and had a skull of more than a metre-similar to a modern-day saltwater crocodile to which it is only distantly related".

The specimen, housed in the Museum, was dug up by collectors in the early twentieth century from a clay pit quarry near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. In fact, his mark on the world now extends all the way back to the dawn of time, as scientists have named a prehistoric crocodile after the legendary rocker.

The croc, now named Lemmysuchus obtusidens, lived around 164 million years ago during the Middle Jurassic Period.

However, it was incorrectly categorised with the remains of other sea crocodiles found in the same location. Lemmysuchus was thought to be a relative of other species of the coastal warrior, but a re-examination found sufficient differences for paleontologists to decide it needed naming as a specific thing all of its own.

Its broad snout and large blunt teeth evolved for crushing shelled prey such as turtles - in contrast to its close relatives that had longer snouts and thinner teeth for catching fish. The scientists say that while a few of the other finds were indeed from the same species as Lemmysuchus, most were from its relatives.

Jurassic crocodile named after Motorhead frontman
A reconstruction of the Jurassic crocodile Lemmysuchus

Kilmister is, of course, the former bassist of seminal heavy metal group Motörhead.

It would appear to be quite an appropriate pairing, as the beast, now known as the Lemmysuchus, could grow to almost six metres long and used its large teeth to chomp up turtles.

The suggestion to honour heavy metal bass player Lemmy came from Natural History Museum curator and Motorhead fan Lorna Steel.

It's not uncommon for researchers to name newly discovered plants and animals after celebrities. If you look close you'll see that the pattern on the crocodile's head is stylized after Motörhead's Snaggletooth logo.