Paleontologists Name Bug-Eating Dinosaur After Obama

The rot in this country is worse than you thought.

The mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago also did in lots of lizards — including a newly identified creature that's been named Obamadon gracilis in honor of President Barack Obama.

Obama already has a type of fish (Ethiostoma obama) and lichen (Caloplaca obamae) named after him, and now the recently re-elected leader of the free world can add a foot-long, slender-toothed casualty of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction to the list.

Yale paleontologist Nicholas Longrich, the lead author of a paper announcing the find in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, told me that the name arose from a conversation he had with a friend in late 2008, when folks were wondering how Obama's election would change the political scene.

"I said, yeah, we should name a dinosaur after him," Longrich said. "It was sort of a smart-ass comment."

But the idea stuck. After all, this is the guy who named a different fossil "Mojoceratops."

"It was catchy, and it seemed like a fun thing to do," he said.

Har har.

The Obamadon was about a foot long and ate bugs. Because dogs didn't exist yet.