Moscow, March 31 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian scientists, studying pre-historic life, have named a recently discovered fossil ichthyosaur after Vladimir Lenin, the father of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, said the head of the Natural History Museum at Ulyanovsk State University.
The ichthyosaurs were large marine reptiles that are thought to have inhabited the Earth’s oceans in the Mesozoic era, a geological definition of a period of time stretching from about 251 million to 65 years ago.
Predecessors of today’s lizards and snakes, ichthyosaurs are not considered dinosaurs.
“The name Leninia stellans was agreed collegially. There is nothing strange about the name, many new discoveries are named after famous people,” Gleb Uspensky, who heads the Natural History Museum at Ulyanovsk State University said.
The fossil dates from around 125 or 122 million years ago, according to the Paleobiology database.
Paleontologists found the incomplete skull several years ago near the village of Kriushi in the Sengileevsk region of Ulyanovsk.
“The skull was over a metre long. Externally the ichthyosaur resembled a modern-day dolphin, and fed on fish and mollusks,” Uspensky said.
The fossil is being kept at the local history museum in Russia’s Ulyanovsk city.
In 2012, a team of researchers from the US universities of Yale and Harvard named a pre-historic lizard Obamadon gracilis, after Barack Obama, reportedly inspired by the US President’s “toothy grin.”