A long-extinct lizard species has been named after long-extinct rock star Jim Morrison. Like The Doors singer in his later years, the lizard seems to have been pretty hefty. The newly-dubbed Barbaturex morrisoni were six-foot lizards that roamed South East Asia about 40 million years ago.
A team of paleontologists analysed fossils of the giant reptile and discovered it is the largest plant-eating lizard to have ever existed.
It lived alongside other herbivorous and carnivorous mammals during the Eocene epoch. It was likely to have weighed about 27.2 kg (60 pounds).
...But Barbaturex morrisoni was larger than most carnivorous mammals. And competition for resources did not appear to restrict its evolution into such a large lizard, the study found.
'Reptiles and mammals co-exist most places on the Earth today. What is interesting about the Lizard King is that it was a large vegetarian co-existing and competing with other herbivorous mammals,' co-author Prof Russell
Ciochon, from the University of Iowa, told BBC News.
...'I was listening to The Doors quite a bit during the research," Head said. "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.'" [BBC]