Ancient Swamp Creature Had Lips Like Jagger

Posted on September 13, 2014

Fossilized Jaggermeryx jaw bone

Scientists from Duke University and Wake Forest University have discovered the fossilized remains of a swamp creature that lived in Africa 19 million years ago. The creature belongs to the anthracotheres family of extinct hoofed animals. Scientists say the creature was the size of a small deer and resembled a "cross between a slender hippo and a long-legged pig."

The scientists named the creature Jaggermeryx naida, which means Jagger's water nymph. The Jaggermeryx is named after Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger because of its big, sensitive lips. The researchers say the creature had supersized lips. Top and side views of its fossilized jaw bone are pictured above.

Ellen Miller of Wake Forest University, a co-author of the study, says Jaggermeryx may have used its large lips and sensitive snout to forage in the river bank and scoop up plants to eat. Miller says some of her colleagues suggested Angelina Jolie for naming the creature, but she went with Jagger. She says, "Some of my colleagues suggested naming the new species after Hollywood star Angelina Jolie, because she also has famous lips. But for me it had to be Mick."

Duke University paleontologist and study co-author Gregg Gunnell says in a statement, "The animal probably had a highly innervated muzzle with mobile and tactile lips, thus the Jagger reference."

This story may remind some of the Maroon 5 song, but with Jaggermeryx it was the lips and not the "moves." A research paper on Jaggermeryx can be found here in the Journal of Paleontology.

Photo: Gregg Gunnell, Duke Lemur Center