Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Actor Johnny Depp immortalized in name of fossilized creature with 'scissor hand' claws

Date:
May 16, 2013
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with 'scissor hand-like' claws in fossil records and has named it in honor of his favourite movie star. The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi, which is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands -- a movie about an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands.

Kooteninchela deppi reconstruction.
Credit: Image courtesy of Imperial College London

A scientist has discovered an ancient extinct creature with 'scissor hand-like' claws in fossil records and has named it in honour of his favourite movie star.

The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi (pronounced Koo-ten-ee-che-la depp-eye), which is a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, was named after the actor Johnny Depp for his starring role as Edward Scissorhands -- a movie about an artificial man named Edward, an unfinished creation, who has scissors for hands.

Kooteninchela deppi is helping researchers to piece together more information about life on Earth during the Cambrian period when nearly all modern animal types emerged.

David Legg, who carried out the research as part of his PhD in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says:

"When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands. Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as 'chela' is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?"

Kooteninchela deppi lived in very shallow seas, similar to modern coastal environments, off the cost of British Columbia in Canada, which was situated much closer to the equator 500 million years ago. The sea temperature would have been much hotter than it is today and although coral reefs had not yet been established, Kooteninchela deppi would have lived in a similar environment consisting of sponges.

The researcher believes that Kooteninchela deppi would have been a hunter or scavenger. Its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws with their elongated spines may have been used to capture prey, or they could have helped it to probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.

Kooteninchela deppi was approximately four centimetres long with an elongated trunk for a body and millipede-like legs, which it used to scuttle along the sea floor with the occasional short swim.

It also had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. They were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it more easily search for food and look out for predators.

The researcher discovered that Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the 'great-appendage' arthropods, or megacheirans, which refers to the enlarged pincer-like frontal claws that they share. The 'great-appendage' arthropods are an early relation of arthropods, which includes spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes, insects and crabs.

David Legg adds: "Just imagine it: the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi. Current estimates indicate that there are more than one million known insects and potentially 10 million more yet to be categorised, which potentially means that Kooteninchela Deppi has a huge family tree."

In the future, David Legg intends to further his research and study fossilised creatures from the Ordovician, the geological period that saw the largest increase in diversity of species on the planet. He hopes to understand why this happened in order to learn more about the current diversity of species on Earth.

The research was published in the Journal of Palaeontology 2 May 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. The original article was written by Colin Smith. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Legg. Multi-Segmented Arthropods from the Middle Cambrian of British Columbia (Canada). Journal of Paleontology, 2013; 87 (3): 493 DOI: 10.1666/12-112.1

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Actor Johnny Depp immortalized in name of fossilized creature with 'scissor hand' claws." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063842.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2013, May 16). Actor Johnny Depp immortalized in name of fossilized creature with 'scissor hand' claws. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063842.htm
Imperial College London. "Actor Johnny Depp immortalized in name of fossilized creature with 'scissor hand' claws." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516063842.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins