Newly Found Dinosaur Named After Marvel’s Loki, Not the Norse God, Thanks Very Much

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Medusaceratops lokii, the discovery of which was announced today, was a triceratops-like large dinosaur of the Ceratopsidae family; the Cleveland Plain-Dealer describes it as “the size of a large pickup,” at 20 feet long and two tons, with a “sharp, parrot-like beak” and a “spike-covered, 4-foot-wide frill.” It’s also pretty clear from the etymology of its name that Michael Ryan, the scientist who discovered it, is a pretty cool guy.

Sure, Medusa is a snake-haired mythological Gorgon and Loki is a Norse trickster-god, but Ryan had some rather more specific cultural references in mind when he picked the name.

The Medusa he had in mind was Medusa as she appeared in Clash of the Titans — the original Ray Harryhausen movie, mind you, not the Kraken-releasing remake:

The new horned dinosaur “has snake-like, rocky appendages coming out the back of its skull, so it fit quite nicely to call it Medusa.”

As for the Loki part, he was going for Loki in his incarnation as a Marvel supervillain, not the garden-variety Norse god:

“We had a lot of confusion with this,” he said. “And if you look at the way they draw Loki in the original comic, he has this big helmet with these two giant hooks that come out of the top. So it’s coincidental that it all lines up. I thought it made a great name.”

It’s hardly breaking news that paleontologists are cool kids, but this is yet more nice corroborative evidence.

(Cleveland.com via Robot6)


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