Scientists name newly-discovered ancient ten-tentacled sea creature after Biden, and the jokes roll in

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President Joe Biden recently received the honor of having an extinct type of squid named after him.

Paleontologists have long discovered various prehistoric remains in Montana. Usually, dinosaur bones get the limelight, but the truth is all manner of creatures are discovered in the Treasure State, which has been underwater at various points in its history.

One such sea creature was unearthed in the Bear Gulch limestone formation in 1988, and from there was donated to Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum, apparently without anyone taking a second glance at it. More recently, Christopher Whalen, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History found the remains forgotten in a drawer on Tuesday.

The remarkably well-preserved creature is believed to be a 330 million-year-old vampyropod, which is believed to be an ancestor of the octopus and vampire squids that inhabit our oceans today. It is approximately 4.7 inches long and has ten tentacle limbs, which is more than modern octopuses, which have eight. The creature proves that octopuses existed prior to dinosaurs, as the previous record-holder for the oldest vampyropod was a mere 240 million years old.

“All previously reported fossil vampyropods preserving the appendages only have eight arms, so this fossil is arguably the first confirmation of the idea that all cephalopods ancestrally possessed ten arms,” Whalen said to CNN.

“It’s very rare to find soft tissue fossils, except in a few places. This is a very exciting finding. It pushes back the ancestry much farther than previously known,” commented Mike Vecchione, a zoologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The name for this creature? It is now officially a Syllipsimopodi Bideni, named after the current American president because the scientists involved “were encouraged by his plans to address climate change and to fund scientific research.”

However, not everyone is entirely convinced the specimen is actually a new species.

Christian Klug of the University of Zurich in Switzerland told  The New York Times that he thinks the specimen is probably a known species of prehistoric cephalopod, the Gordoniconus Beargulchensis, that existed at approximately the same time period as the S. Bideni. Klug, however, was not actually involved first-hand in the work on the specimen.

Most of the scientific community seems to accept the new discovery as indeed a new discovery and S. Bideni is in the process of being added to the official rolls of life that lived and died many millions of years before man ever set foot on the earth. Whatever else Biden may or may not have as his legacy, at least he can say that a long-dead predecessor to the octopus will now bear his name forever.

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