Ancient Deer-Like Swamp Creature Named After Mick Jagger has Supersized Lips
A new animal from the depths of a prehistoric swamp has been named after Mick Jagger due to a trait that they both share in common: their supersized lips.
"We gave it the scientific name Jaggermeryx naida, which translates to 'Jagger's water nymph,'" said Ellen Miller, co-author of the new study, in a news release.
The newly discovered creature lived about 19 million years ago and belonged to a family of extinct, hoofed animals called anthracotheres. It's likely that the site where it was found was once a lush tropical delta crisscrossed by rivers and swampland.
This new animal is just one of six species of anthracotheres that have been found at the site. Yet what made this particular creature stand out was a series of tiny holes on either side of its jaw that held the nerves providing sensation to the chin and lower lip.
"The animal probably had a highly innervated muzzle with mobile and tactile lips, thus the Jagger reference," said Gregg Gunnell, co-author of the study.
The creature was probably around the size of a small deer, and looked a bit like a cross between a slender hippo and a long-legged pig. In addition to this finding, the researchers also discovered fossilized catfish, turtles, waterbirds and crocodile feces at the site.
"Some of my colleagues suggested naming the new species after Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, because she also has famous lips," said Miller. "But for me it had to be Mick."
The findings are published in the Journal of Paleontology.