David Legg who carried out his research as part of his PhD in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, named a fossil he discovered in honor of Mr. Depp. The 505-million-year-old fossil called Kooteninchela deppi belonged to a distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions.
K. deppi is helping researchers find out more about life on Earth during the Cambrian period, which is when the majority of modern animal types emerged.
“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands,” Legg said. “Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as ‘chela’ is Latin for claws or scissors. In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?”
The ancient lobster-like creature lived in very shallow seas off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. Sea temperatures in this area would have been much hotter than today, and although coral reefs had not yet been established, Kooteninchela deppi would have lived in a similar environment made up predominantly of sponges.
Legg believes the ancient creature would have been a hunter or scavenger. Its claws may have been used to capture prey, or they could have helped it probe the sea floor looking for sea creatures hiding in sediment.
K. deppi was about 1.5-inches long with an elongated trunk for a body and millipede-like legs. It had large eyes composed of many lenses like the compound eyes of a fly. These eyes were positioned on top of movable stalks called peduncles to help it search for food and keep a look out for predators.
“Just imagine it: the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi,” Legg said.