Barbaturex morrisoni is the name of the extinct 6-foot long lizard thought to be present about 36-40 million years ago in South East Asia and this name has been taken from the name of “The Doors” rock singer Jim Morrison.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
“I was listening to The Doors quite a bit during the research,” Jason Head of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in a statement. “Some of their musical imagery includes reptiles and ancient places, and Jim Morrison was of course ‘The Lizard King,’ so it all kind of came together.”
That plant-eating lizard was unusually long – “The Lizard King” – and higher temperatures of that time might help them to achieve such huge sizes.
“Paleotemperature estimates of Pondaung Formation environments based on the body size of the new lizard are approximately 2–5°C higher than modern,” Researchers wrote.
Weight of the lizard is thought to be about 27.2 kg (60 pounds).
“Reptiles and mammals co-exist most places on the Earth today. What is interesting about the Lizard King is that it was a large vegetarian co-existing and competing with other herbivorous mammals,” co-author Prof Russell Ciochon, from the University of Iowa, told BBC News.
“Large lizards on the Earth today, such Indonesia’s Komodo Dragon, and in the past, such as the late Cretaceous Chinese Chianghsia nankangensis and the Pleistocene Australian Varanus priscus, are all carnivores. These large carnivorous lizards were eating the mammals they co-existed with, not competing with the mammals.
“The large size of the Lizard King certainly protected it from many predators. But there is no doubt that it was hunted by mammalian carnivores of the day.”
Head, J., Gunnell, G., Holroyd, P., Hutchison, J., & Ciochon, R. (2013). Giant lizards occupied herbivorous mammalian ecospace during the Paleogene greenhouse in Southeast Asia Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 280 (1763), 20130665-20130665 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0665