New Species Of Ancient Sea Creature Discovered And Named After President Obama


Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses participants at a summit on climate change involving mayors from around the globe in December 2017 in Chicago.

The animal is tiny - about 0.5 to 2 centimeters across - with raised spiral grooves on its back. The second part of the name is a reference to Jane Fargher, one of the owners of the property where the experts discovered the fossils. This animal named after Obama probably never moved an inch to the right or left.

The newly named Obamus coronatus was discovered by a team from the Univerity of California, Riverside (UCR).

While the names were chosen for both men's passion for science, Droser told The Washington Post, Obamus coronatus first reminded researchers of Obama because it resembles an ear - one of the former president's distinctive traits. Their fingerprints were found in well-preserved sedimentary rocks in the mountains in the South of Australia.

UCR professor of paleontology Mary Droser, who led several studies about both creatures, said researchers were lucky to make such an incredible find.

Between 580 and 540 million years ago, toward the end of the so-called Ediacaran Period, the first complex animals emerged in Earth's shallow oceans. From a taxonomy perspective, the Ediacara Biota are not yet organized into families, and scientists don't know much about how these creatures relate to modern life.

Alice's Restaurant Bed is teeming with prehistoric fossils from the Ediacaran Biota, a group of soft-bodied animals representing some of the earliest lifeforms on Earth.

The fossils are so unlike any known species that researchers classified them as their own genus, the category scientists use for a grouping of similar species.

"I've been working in this region for 30 years, and I've never seen such a beautifully preserved bed with so many high quality and rare specimens, including Obamus and Attenborites", Droser said.

The two genera that we identified are a new body plan, unlike anything else that has been described. A bit different from Obamus coronatus, Attenborites janeae measured not quite a centimeter across and was clearly in the rough shape of an oval. She said South Australia is hoping to get the area where the fossils were found designated as a World Heritage Site to reflect its unique history and the importance of protecting it.

Ian Hughes of Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and Emily Hughes of Wesleyan University also participated in the research.