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Fossil Of 'Jaggermeryx' Found Namesake In Another Stone


It's one thing to have moves like Jagger. I mean, you can learn those.


MAROON 5: (Singing) I've got the moves like Jagger. I've got the moves like Jagger. I've got the moves like Jagger.

CORNISH: To really embody The Rolling Stones front man, you've got to have lipss like Jagger, just like a prehistoric swamp pig did.


When scientists are Rolling Stones fans, and they discover a fossil that reveals a big old pout, this is what happens.

GREGG GUNNELL: OK. Well, we named it Jaggermeryx after Mick Jagger.

SIEGEL: That's Duke University researcher Gregg Gunnell. He's one of the scientists who discovered the remains of the Jaggermeryx. By the way, that it translates to Jagger's water nymph. The fossil was found in northern Egypt a few years ago.

CORNISH: Gunnell says, the team's findings will be published in this month's issue of the Journal of Paleontology.

GUNNELL: We noticed that the jaws have a lot of what we call foramena - these holes in the jaw. And that usually means an animal that has a lot of blood vessels and nerves that go into the soft tissues around the front of the mouth. And so we started thinking, well, this animal must of had a very sort of mobile, tactile set of lips and tongue.

CORNISH: So when it came time to name the creature described as a mix between a slender hippo and a long-legged pig, Gunnell says, it was all about the lips. Someone suggested calling it Angelina Jolie.

GUNNELL: And I thought, well, she might be really upset by this. So we thought about Mick instead, and we agreed that the Jagger was probably most appropriate for this.

SIEGEL: Gregg Gunnell says, he's not sure if Jagger knows about the animal being named for him. But this isn't the first time a newly discovered species has been given his name. It was also used for an extinct arthropod.

CORNISH: So while Mick Jagger will never be a beast of burden, you could always name one after him.


THE ROLLING STONES: (Singing) I'll never be your beast of burden. My back is broad, but my hands are hurting. All I want is for you to make love to me. I'll never be your beast of burden. I've walked for miles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.