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Scientists Name One Of The 'Nastiest Sea Creatures' Ever After Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister

(Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
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It's not uncommon for researchers to name newly discovered plants and animals after celebrities. For instance, there's the Hugh Hefner rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) and the Kate Winslet beetle (Agra katewinsletae). But what name do you attach to a prehistoric crocodile that's described by London's Natural History Museum as being a 19-foot creature that's both "fearsome" and a "monster"?

Certainly, for such a cold-blooded killer (and, indeed, crocodiles are literally just that), you'd have to reach into the darkest depths of heavy metal to find a name that's worthy of its subject. Scientists have done just that, as the late Lemmy Kilmister is now the namesake of the feared Lemmysuchus obtusidens, the Natural History Museum announced.

Kilmister is, of course, the former bassist of seminal heavy metal group Motörhead. He also used to be something of an L.A. elderstatesman, as he was a fixture on the Sunset Strip (even after its glory days had flown past). The Rainbow Bar even erected a statue of Kilmister after his passing.

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Lemmy was a certifiable legend, and so is Lemmysuchus obtusidens, who apparently inspired fear across the land. "With a metre-long skull and a total length of 5.8 metres, it would have been one of the biggest coastal predators of its time," Michela Johnson, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, told the museum. The museum adds that the creature used to prowl the shallow sea waters of what would become modern-day Europe, and that it had a broad snout and large blunt teeth that were used to crush prey that had shells (like turtles). Lucky for us, Lemmysuchus obtusidens is no longer around today; it had existed about 164 million years ago during the Middle Jurassic Period.

The creature's new name is owed to Lorna Steel, a curator at the museum and, apparently, a dedicated Motörhead fan. "Although Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015, 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," said Steel. The new name came after researchers determined that fossils belonging to Lemmysuchus obtusidens were wrongly categorized; some of the bones actually belonged to a close relative to the crocodile. After this confusion was cleared up, scientists concluded that the crocodile should be given a new name.

The picture above is, obviously, a rendition done up by the museum. If you look close you'll see that the pattern on the crocodile's head is stylized after Motörhead's Snaggletooth logo. That's pretty metal.