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Turtle-crushing prehistoric sea crocodile named after Motörhead’s Lemmy

Lemmysuchus © Mark Witton and The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

A fierce crocodile that lived around 164million years ago has been named after late Motörhead legend Lemmy Kilmister.

The 19ft (5.8metre) long predator called Lemmysuchus obtusidens lived in the Jurassic era and is part of an extinct group of marine crocodiles called telosaurs.

Native to British coastal waters, the reptile had a skull measuring more than a metre and large blunt teeth that would have been used to crush hard turtle shells.

The creature’s fossil was dug up in a clay pit quarry near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in 1909, however, it’s only just been discovered that it was incorrectly classified as a closely related sea crocodile.


Lemmy performing in 2015 © PA Images

The name Lemmysuchus obtusidens was suggested by Natural History Museum curator and Motörhead aficionado Lorna Steel.

"Although Lemmy passed away at the end of 2015, we'd like to think that he would have raised a glass to Lemmysuchus, one of the nastiest sea creatures to have ever inhabited the Earth,” says Lorna.

"As a long-standing Motörhead fan I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to immortalise the rock star in this way."

The wrong classification was discovered by University of Edinburgh palaeontologist Michela Johnson.

She commented: "Following careful anatomical comparison, and by referring to the main specimen held at the Natural History Museum, we could see that most of the previous finds were actually from relatives of Lemmysuchus rather than the species itself, and we were able to assign a new name."

Motörhead, of course, recorded a song called ‘Love Me Like a Reptile’ on their 1980 classic album ‘Ace of Spades’, which we have embedded for your listening pleasure here:

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