Creepy Ancient Arthropod Named After Johnny Depp

May 21, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Scorpions, spiders, lobsters, millipedes, and flies — they all evolved from a common ancestor, the “scissor-armed” Cambrian-era arthropod kooteninchela deppi, whose recently discovered 505-million-year-old fossil may vastly change our understanding of how all modern lifeforms emerged.

But how does one aptly name an extinct, sea-dwelling, pincer-clawed megaceiran mofo? Same as how boy-crazy tweens have named their stuffed animals since the dawn of time — after their favorite celebs.

“When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhand,” paleontologist David Legg wrote. “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?”

Right then.