The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Meet the brutally violent prehistoric crocodile named for Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister

An artist’s rendering of Lemmysuchus, a Jurassic-era sea-dwelling crocodile (Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London)
Placeholder while article actions load

Much like Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, this crocodile “ain’t no nice guy.”

Recently, scientists at the Natural History Museum in London were studying the fossil of a sea crocodile that terrorized coastal Europe some 164 million years ago, when they noticed something was wrong. The fossil was misclassified and had been for more than a century, ever since it was dug up from a quarry near Peterborough, England, the museum said in a news release.

They had a new species on their hands, and it needed a name. The creature’s brash, aggressive nature brought to mind the hell-raising British heavy metal band Motorhead, known for songs such as “Killed By Death,” “Born to Raise Hell,” “God Was Never On Your Side” and “I Ain’t No Nice Guy.”

So they named it Lemmysuchus obtusidens after the band’s hard-living founder and singer, Lemmy Kilmister, who reportedly consumed a bottle of Jack Daniels a day. He died of cancer in 2015.

The renaming was published this week in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

The prehistoric monster was partial to shelled prey that other predators tended to ignore, such as sea turtles. To that end, it had enormous blunt teeth to crush through that hard surface and get to the vulnerable, quivering meat underneath.

It also had some heft behind that crowded mouthful of teeth.

“With a metre-long skull and a total length of 5.8 metres, it would have been one of the biggest coastal predators of its time,” University of Edinburgh paleontologist Michela Johnson said in a news release.

A paleoartist’s rendition of what it probably looked like showed a positively alien creature, something that looks like a cross between a demon and a crocodile. It begins with a long snout full of those flat chompers and ends in spiked tail.

Frankly, it looks like something Motorhead’s Kilmister would have written a song about.

If anything defined Kilmister, it was living a hard rock-and-roll lifestyle.

He usually wore a black cowboy hat adorned with a skull and crossed swords. Long black hair and bushy sideburns spread wildly from under it. For most of his life, his face was covered by a mustache that snaked down either side of the mouth.

Black denim and leather were his fabrics of choice, often accented by German and Nazi memorabilia.

Motorhead’s Lemmy, heavy metal pioneer, dead at 70: A voice like shrapnel and a bass tone to match

If he wasn’t rocking out on stage, he generally had a drink — or something heavier — in his hand.

As The Washington Post’s Justin Wm. Moyer wrote, “The drugs were ubiquitous enough to not merit mention. Asked in 2008 what songs were inspired by substance use, Lemmy said: ‘All of them.’”

“It was not a facade, not an act,” Greg Olliver, co-director of “Lemmy,” a documentary about the rocker, told Moyer. “He would walk around his house in tight jeans with a bullet belt, a rock show belt. There was no Lemmy in sweatpants.”

Lemmy and the fierce crocodile were truly a match for the ages.

“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,” London Natural History Museum curator Lorna Steel said in a news release.

Shine on you crazy crustacean: This shrimp kills with sound and is named after Pink Floyd

Motorhead isn’t the first rock band to find itself referenced in the wide world of science. Earlier this year, scientists named a shrimp that kills its prey by snapping an enlarged claw and creating an overwhelming booming sound. They chose to call it Synalpheus pinkfloydi after British rockers Pink Floyd.

The same scientist behind that inspired name had previously named another shrimp after Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, the Elephantis jaggerai.

More from Morning Mix

In break with Netflix, Disney’s streaming service aims to dominate children’s programming

Hackers post stolen HBO ‘Game of Thrones’ scripts online, demand bitcoin ransom

Why ‘Roseanne,’ ‘Will & Grace’ and other TV reboots are walking back major story lines