Interesting Facts About Obamus coronatus: Named After Former President Obama

Between 580 and 540 million years ago, toward the end of the so-called Ediacaran Period, the first complex animals emerged in Earth’s shallow oceans. A newly discovered ancient sea creature that lived 500 million years ago was named Obamus coronatus, after former U.S. President Barack Obama.
The ancient animal was discovered alongside Attenborites janeae, which was named after Sir David Attenborough. The English naturalist and broadcaster is not as popular as Obama but was known for his advocacy for science and support for paleontology.
Both creatures are part of the Ediacara Biota — enigmatic tubular and frond-shaped organisms that lived during the Ediacaran Period (ca. 635–542 Millions of years ago). From a taxonomy perspective, the Ediacara Biota are not yet organized into families, and scientists don’t know much about how these creatures relate to modern life. So far, scientists have described around 50 genera, mostly comprised of only one species.
Now, scientists from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have discovered the fossils of two bizarre new creatures from this period—and they’ve named them after former President Barack Obama and renowned British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
A team of researchers led by scientists from the University of California-Riverside discovered the two ancient sea creatures in a well-preserved fossil bed in a mountain range in southern Australia.
Obamus coronatus, the discovery of which was published on the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, was a tiny disc-shaped animal that measured about half of an inch long, with raised spiral grooves on the surface. It is believed that have spent its whole life embedded in the ocean floor and not moving. Why would such an animal be named after Obama?
Obamus coronatus was a small disk-shaped creature with raised spiral grooves on its surface and measured between 0.2 and 0.8 inches (0.5 and 2 centimeters) across. It likely did not move around much but lived embedded in the ocean mat—a thick layer of organic matter that once covered the floor of Earth’s early oceans. O. coronatus was named after the former president because of his passion for science, researchers said.
Below are some interesting facts about Obamus coronatus:
1. Why would such an animal be named after Obama? According to scientists, Obamus coronatus was named after Obama simply because of the former president’s passion for science. Coronatus, meanwhile, stands for “crowned.”
2. Obamus coronatus, however, is not the first animal to be associated with Barack Obama. There are at least nine creatures that have been named after the former U.S. president.
Among these animals are the Obamadon gracillis, an extinct insectivorous lizard that lived 5 million years ago; the Aptostichus barackobamai, a trapdoor spider that lives in the redwoods of north-central California; and Tosanoides Obama, a colorful coral reef basslet that lives exclusively on the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which was once the largest ecologically protected place on Earth.
3. More precisely, Obama coronatus was less than an inch across and shaped roughly like a Christmas wreath, she said. It probably never moved, but Droser plans to do more research to confirm that — once she returns from another trip to the desert of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges region, where the team found the two new animals.
4. Obamus coronatus, the discovery of which was published on the Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, was a tiny disc-shaped animal that measured about half of an inch long, with raised spiral grooves on the surface. It is believed that have spent its whole life embedded in the ocean floor and not moving.

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