A group of scientists recently paid tribute to late Doors singer Jim Morrison by naming a newly described extinct reptile after him. Barbaturex morrisoni was a plant-eating iguana-like creature that lived in Southeast Asia around 40 million years ago. It is believed to have weighed 60 pounds and grew to more than six feet in length, making it the largest herbivorous lizard ever discovered.
The animal’s genus name, Barbaturex, is Latin for “bearded king,” while one of the famous nicknames for Morrison is, of course, “The Lizard King.”
Jason Head, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who was lead researcher in the study of the creature, came up with the idea to name the reptile after Morrison.
“I was listening to The Doors quite a bit during the research,” Head told the BBC. “Some of their musical imagery includes reptiles and ancient places, and Jim Morrison was of course ‘The Lizard King,’ so it all kind of came together.”
One of the interesting aspects of the lizard, says researcher Russell Ciochon, a professor from the University of Iowa, was that it lived alongside and competed with plant-eating mammals that were comparable in size.
“Large lizards on the Earth today, such Indonesia’s Komodo Dragon…are all carnivores,” Ciochon explains to the BBC, adding that these plus-sized reptiles usually eat the mammals they co-exist with.
The Lizard King lives forever!