New African Lizard Species Named After British Naturalist

First Posted: Aug 03, 2015 04:50 PM EDT

English broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who is widely considered a national treasure in Britain for his comprehensive work on animal and plant life, has just received a new honor. A newly discovered flat lizard species of South Africa, known as Platysaurus attenboroughi, has been named after him.

Flat lizards belong to a genus of the Cordylidae family, a group whose species are found only in Africa and who are named for their unique body shape, which grant them the ability to sneak into tiny crevices so to easily escape hungry predators.

"We thought it fitting the lizard be named after the world-famous naturalist after he made famous a closely related flat lizard species in the BBC series Life in Cold Blood," Martin Whiting, a biologist at ANU, said in a news release.

"Flat lizards attracted my attention some years ago, and since then we have been working on understanding their social system, how color functions in communication, and how the various species are related," Whiting added. "It was during this process that we realized there were more species than currently described and there was a real need to uncover or build a 'family tree' for flat lizards. This is something our team is currently working on."

More information regarding the new species can be found in the journal ZooTaxa.

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