A 505-million-year-old fossil discovered recently has been named Kooteninchela deppi because of its scissor-like claws, which reminded the scientist who discovered it of Depp's character from the 1990 movie Edward Scissorhands.
"When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species, I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands," the scientist, David Legg, said on the website of London's Imperial College (see an image of the creature there). "Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film, as 'chela' is Latin for claws or scissors."
Legg then comes clean.
"In truth, I am also a bit of a Depp fan," he admits, "and so what better way to honor the man than to immortalize him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?"
Depp, known for playing a somewhat more recent creature who also roamed the sea, has not commented on the honor – if he would even consider it that.
Certainly, unlike its namesake, the Kooteninchela deppi is a weird-looking beast. A distant ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, it had an elongated trunk for a body, millipede-like legs, large eyes atop movable stalks – and of course, those claws, which it may have used to capture prey or probe the sea floor.
The Kooteninchela deppi's many descendants are well known, however, including spiders, centipedes, millipedes and crabs.
"Just imagine it," Legg says. "The prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall, and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi."