Extinct 'Lizard King' Named After Doors Singer

Jim Morrison honored with 'Barbaturex morrisoni'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
Extinct 'Lizard King' Named After Doors Singer
In this undated publicity file photo, members of the Doors, from left, John Densmore, Robbie Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and Jim Morrison, pose for a portrait.   (AP Photo, File)

Scientists recently found that a 6-foot, 60-pound lizard that lived 36 million to 40 million years ago was the largest plant-eating lizard ever to have walked the Earth, so they gave it a fitting moniker: Barbaturex morrisoni, a play on Jim Morrison's "Lizard King" alter ego. The lizard is thought to have evolved to such a large size thanks in part to the higher temperatures experienced at the time in Southeast Asia, where it lived, the BBC reports. "This is a king lizard, and [Morrison] was the lizard king, so it just fit," the lead researcher says, according to LiveScience.

Unlike modern-day, smaller lizards that often become meals for larger predators, the Barbaturex morrisoni was able to hold its own while competing for food against mammals, and was actually bigger than most meat-eating mammals, the palaeontologists who analyzed fossils of the reptile found. "I was listening to The Doors quite a bit during the research," the lead researcher says. In addition to Morrison's alter ego, "some of their musical imagery includes reptiles and ancient places." (Read more lizard stories.)

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