Last Updated on March 22, 2022
Scientists have discovered what is believed to be the oldest ancestor of the octopus species after a 330 million-year-old fossil of a ten-armed squid was discovered. The researchers who discovered the fossil decided to name the prehistoric species after Joe Biden.
Scientists named the animal Syllipsimopodi bideni, derived from the Greek words “syllípsimos” for “prehensile” and “pódi” for “foot,” along with “bideni” after President Biden, according to a report from Forbes. The animal lives 330 million years ago in what is now Montana, and is believed to be the earliest known relative of octopuses and vampire squid.
It is the first and only known vampyropod to possess 10 functional appendages,” said lead author Christopher Whalen, a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History and Yale University. According to Whalen, the newly discovered fossil is 82 million years older than the earliest known animal from the group. That is more time separating the species from humans than the Tyrannosaurus rex.
Whalen said the paper was submitted for publication shortly after the “insurrection” at the Capitol. The group wanted to name the fossil and its species after Biden in order to show appreciation for his climate change plans, as well as his insistence that the public “listen to scientists.”
“I wanted to somehow acknowledge the moment in a way that was more positive and forward-looking,” he said. “I was encouraged by the plans President Biden put forward to counter anthropogenic climate change, and his general sentiment that politicians should listen to scientists,” Whalen added.