Lip Service: Scientists Name Ancient Swamp Creature After Mick Jagger

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Naming the fossil of an extinct pig-like swamp creature after Mick Jagger might not sound like much of a tribute to the aging rock 'n' roll star — unless it's an honor bestowed by scientists. Ellen Miller, an associate professor of anthropology at Wake Forest University, paid homage to the pouty-lipped Rolling Stones frontman by giving the scientific name Jaggermeryx naida, or “Jagger’s water nymph," to the fossil of a large-lipped animal she and colleagues discovered. “I like the Rolling Stones,” Miller said in a news release issued by Wake Forest. “I’m a huge Stones fan.” The deer-sized creature lived 19 million years ago in Africa, and is described by researchers as something of a cross between a long-legged pig and a slender hippo. Miller was among a group of researchers who found several fossilized jaw fragments belonging to the animal at a remote site in the Egyptian desert. She is co-author of a paper detailing the discovery published in the September issue of the Journal of Paleontology. The creature belonged to a family of extinct hippopotamus-like mammals called anthracotheres.



— James Eng