David Attenborough has been honored with a 200 million-year-old fossil named after him.
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH has received numerous accolades for his efforts to conservation and research over the years. Now, to add to his extensive list of achievements, he has been named after a prehistoric horseshoe crab species.
Horseshoe crabs are becoming increasingly rare, with only four species recognized around the world. However, according to academics from Australia’s University of New England, this was not the case hundreds of millions of years ago. What better way to commemorate the finding of one such prehistoric creature than to name it after Sir David Attenborough, a man who has been fostering a love of wildlife for nearly 60 years?
The newly named Attenborolimulus superspinosus is a variety of horseshoe crab that lived between 250 and 200 million years ago during the Triassic epoch.
Horseshoe crabs were known as austrolimulids at the time, and they evolved into a variety of shapes and sizes.
Russell Dean is a well-known actor. “They lived alongside horseshoe crabs that appear broadly similar to limulids – the strange crustaceans we see along the beaches of the United States and Asia today,” said Christopher Bicknell, a postdoctoral researcher in Palaeobiology at the University of New England.
A team of researchers discovered a collection of rare Triassic rocks and fossils in the Russian Ural Mountains between 2018 and 2019.
The fossilized bones of a hitherto unknown austrolimulid were discovered among the rocks.
The creature, according to Dr. Bicknell, was much smaller than modern-day horseshoe crabs and was most likely a bottom feeder.
“Whatâ€TMs pretty remarkable about some of the fossils we analyzed is evidence of worms and other arthropods having lived on top of the horseshoe crabs,” he wrote in an essay for The Conversation.
“This suggests they may have served as hosts for other ecosystem components, essentially serving as ‘micro-habitats’ for other Triassic floodplain species.”
The next stage was to name the new genus and species after the researchers were satisfied they had found them. And the decision was simple.
The fossil was given the name Attenborolimulus superspinosus in honor of Sir David’s efforts to bring the natural world to our television screens.
The dinosaur has now joined a list of more than 12 animals named after the broadcaster, who turned 95 on May 6 this year.
The researchers were particularly interested in this. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”