Dinosaur is dead ringer for Potter dragonDinosaur is dead ringer for Potter dragon
By Jack Malvern
A new species discovered in the US has been named Dracorex hogwartsia, much to the delight of the author J. K. Rowling
A NEW species of dinosaur has been named in honour of J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books.
The 66 million-year-old dragon-like monster has been given the title Dracorex hogwartsia because it resembles the kind of fantastical creature encountered by the teenage wizard.
The nearly complete skull of the previously unknown dinosaur was found by three friends during a fossil-collecting trip in South Dakota in the United States.
The dinosaur’s name comes from the Latin words Draco, meaning dragon, Rex, meaning king, and hogwartsia for the fictional Hogwarts School created by Rowling.
The author said that the honour had brought her new credibility with her children who are passionate about dinosaurs. “The naming of Dracorex hogwartsia is easily the most unexpected honour to have come my way since the publication of the Harry Potter books,” she said.
“I am absolutely thrilled to think that Hogwarts has made a small mark upon the fascinating world of dinosaurs. I happen to know more on the subject of palaeontology than many might credit, because my eldest daughter was Utahraptor-obsessed.”
She added that the dinosaur, which has gone on display at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, reminded her of one of her own creations, “a slightly less pyromaniac Hungarian Horntail”.
The dinosaur was little more than a box of parts when it was found and it took two years of painstaking research to piece it together.
Robert Bakker, a well known palaeontologist, agreed that the new beast would not look out of place in a Potter book. “Honouring an author with a species name is rare. But it should be done more often,” he said. “The creature is a very special dinosaur that seems at home in a Harry Potter adventure. It was a plant-eater, about as heavy as the warhorse of a medieval knight.
“It carried an armour-plated head of almost magical configuration, covered with knobs and spikes, horns and crests. I was staring at the skull last summer and the name just popped into my head, hogwartsia.”
Rowling, whose Harry Potter series has sold 320 million copies worldwide, has populated her books with a host of weird and wonderful creatures. There are at least ten species of dragon, including the Peruvian vipertooth and the Ukrainian ironbelly. Non-dragon creatures include the mackled malaclaw, which is described as “a creature of the shore and coastline, resembling a lobster. The malaclaw’s bite gives the victim bad luck for up to a week.”
The name Dracorex hogwartsia will remain as a permanent addition to palaeontological records unless scientists prove that it belongs to the same species as a previously identified specimen.
Two-legged predator named after Mark Knopfler, the guitarist and singer from Dire Straits
“Crowned dragon of the five-coloured rocks”, a forerunner of T-Rex
“Paradoxical emperor dragon”, feathered dinosaur with a dragon-like snout
“Tidal giant of Stromer”, a giant herbivore named after Ernst Stromer von Reichenbach, a noted paleontologist