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Ancient shrimp named after Attenborough

Press Association logoPress Association 22/03/2017 By Dominic Harris

He has already had a research ship, dinosaur and flightless weevil named after him, and now Sir David Attenborough can add an ancient shrimp to the creatures given his moniker.

In honour of the naturalist's 90th birthday last year, researchers from the universities of Oxford, Leicester, Yale and Imperial College London have given his name to a distant relative of today's shrimp and lobster.

The crustacean was identified from a 430-million-year-old imprint in volcanic ash found in Herefordshire.

The fossil is named Cascolus ravitis - the first half derived from the Latin words equivalent to the Old English words that comprise the name "Attenborough".

"Ravitis" comes from the Roman name for Leicester, a reference to the University of Leicester where Sir David grew up while his father worked there as an administrator.

The fossil was so well preserved scientists could used 3D computer modelling to build an impression of its legs, eyes and antennae.

With no other fossils of its type on record, they were able to establish it as a new species.

Sir David has had numerous scientific discoveries named after him, including Attenborosaurus conybeari, a dinosaur that lived in Europe during the early Jurassic period; a wildflower in the Brecon Beacons called Attenborough's hawkweed, or Hieracium attenboroughianum, and a long-beaked echidna from the highland forests of New Guinea, Zaglossus attenboroughi.

The polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough was also named after him last year, despite a public call for it to be called Boaty McBoatface.

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