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Weird-looking ancient sea creature named after President Barack Obama; it’s actually an honor

Former President Barack Obama was such a friend to science and so passionate about a diverse number of scientific issues that researchers at the University of California at Riverside decided to honor him by naming an ancient sea creature after him.

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Obamus coronatus, translated means Obama crowned, was a disc-shaped, ocean-dwelling sea creature, which lived in the Earth’s shallow oceans between 580 and 540 million years ago, according to UCR researchers. It had raised spiral groves on its surface and scientists believe it was stationary, embedded in the ocean mat, “a thick layer of organic matter that covered the early ocean floor,” according to a statement.

The animals were soft-bodied and lived in the Precambrian era at the dawn of animal life, researchers said. They were discovered in South Australia’s Ediacara Hills in Flinders Ranges as fossils in sandstone that had been preserved for hundreds of millions of years.

These animals “are a new body plan, unlike anything else that has been described,” lead researcher Mary Droser said.

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“We have been seeing evidence for these animals for quite a long time, but it took us a while to verify that they are animals within their own rights and not part of another animal,” Droser said.  

The discovery of Obamus coroanatus was first reported in the online Australian Journal of Earth Sciences on June 14.

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