‘Obamadon Gracilis’: New Lizard Named in Honour of Obama’s Toothy Grin

Telegraph (London), December 11, 2012

Researchers at Yale University have named a newly discovered lizard ‘Obamadon gracilis’ in honour of the US president’s toothy grin.

The small, insect-eating lizard was first discovered in eastern Montana in 1974 but a recent re-examination showed the fossil had been wrongly classified as a Leptochamops denticulatus and was, in fact, a new species, researchers said.

Obamadon gracilis was one of nine newly discovered species reported on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In naming the new species, Yale scientists combined the Latin “Obamadon” for “Obama’s teeth” and “gracilis,” which means slender.

“The lizard has these very tall, straight teeth and Obama has these tall, straight incisors and a great smile,” said Nick Longrich, a paleontologist at the school in New Haven, Connecticut.

Like many dinosaurs, the lizard died out about 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid struck earth, scientists say.

Mr Longrich said he waited until after the recent US election to name the dinosaur.

“It would look like we were kicking him when he’s down if he lost and we named this extinct lizard after him,” he said in an interview.

Romneydon“ was never under consideration and “Clintondon” didn’t sound good, said Mr Longrich, who supported Hillary Clinton’s failed run against Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Mr Obama is not the first politician whose name has been used to help classify organisms. Megalonyxx jeffersonii, an extinct species of plant-eating ground sloth, was named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, an amateur paleontologist who studied the mammal.

In 2005, entomologists named three species of North American slime-mold beetles agathidium bushi, agathidium cheneyi and agathidium rumsfeldi in honor of the then-president, vice president and secretary of defense.

Other celebrity names also have been used to name new species. A small Caribbean crustacean has been named after reggae icon Bob Marley, an Australian horsefly has been named in honor of hip-hop star Beyonce, and an endangered species of marsh rabbit has been named after Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.


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  • Some Guy

    Armageddon….Obamadon?? Coincidence? Maybe not.

  • IstvanIN

    Most of the time I see Obama with his lips pursed in a look of disgust.

    • OlderWoman

      His PURPLE lips.

  • dhs

    This is not the first time your president’s name has been used taxonomicly. An entire order of extinct tapeworms has been named “Obamidea”.

  • guest

    I feel sorry and embarrassed for that lizard.

    • Bill

      Makes you wonder if Obama would look at the Geico lizard and remark “If I had a son……..”

    • whiteyyyyy

      He’s turning in his grave as we speak.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Good thing they didn’t name a monkey after him. That would have been rayyyciiisst!

    • The Verdict of History

      This actually seems more appropriate… naming a slimy, slithering, sinister creature after our scary overlord is befitting, is it not?

  • Howard W. Campbell

    According to the picture, the lizard is 1/2 green and 1/2 white; I wonder if there is supposed to be a subtle joke here.

  • The__Bobster

    Mr Longrich said he waited until after the recent US election to name the dinosaur.

    Looking for a grant, are we, Mr. Longrich?

  • bigone4u

    The honors accorded to Obama, MLK, and so many other minorities in the name of diversity are ill deserved, but there is one satisfaction to sustain me as I think about this BS. The comforting thought is that one day the sun will shut down, the earth will go dark, and life will become extinct. Obama’s honors are written on the wind and will not last.

  • OlderWoman

    Obama IS a reptile, but they didn’t have to insult the lizard that way.

  • i am

    If they discover a black lizard they could call it Rapeadon, or Murderadon, or Gibsmedatadon.

    • i am

      If they discovered one with a big rear end they could call it Michelleadon.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        The “don” suffix is Latin for “teeth”, so for instance the sailback pelycosaur of the Permian Period “Dimetrodon”, merely had two lengths of teeth. Pteranodon was a pterosaur (from pterodactyl, which means “wing finger”) with no teeth “nodon”. An “urban American” with a mouthful of gold teeth thus might be an Aurodontipithicus bling. The killers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome would probably best be described as Sicaripithicenes. A really enormous, loud black woman would be Brontopithicus auntjemima.

        See? Even learning Latin biological taxonomy can be fun!

  • hugo

    I think we need to name the next small dinosaur “Trayvonadon”.

  • The Lizard I understand is an endangered species and soon to become extinct.