While most dinosaurs names are named after the appearance of the dinosaur, or the person who discovered it – or most likely a combination of both now and then there is a little fun injected into the naming process and our prehistoric animals may be named after famous people living today.
That’s what we are taking a look at in this article – Dinosaurs named after famous people. there are more than you might expect!
The Art of Dinosaur Naming
The process of naming a dinosaur is a blend of science, tradition, and occasionally, a touch of fun. Typically rooted in Latin or Greek, these names often serve as descriptive identifiers, revealing something about the dinosaur’s appearance, behavior, or discovery site.
Alternatively, some are christened in honor of people, be they researchers or famous people from other walks of life. We take a look at some dinosaurs named after famous people below.
The naming of a dinosaur still follows strict guidelines laid down by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, ensuring consistency and avoiding duplication.
if you are curious about this this naming convention? you can look at our dedicated article, “How Do You Name a Dinosaur?”, to uncover the full story.
Dinosaurs named After famous People
While most of these are dinosaurs, we have added some cool animal names that are also named after famous people just to show that it is ongoing. (also in about 20 million years those names with be prehistoric as well so really we are just ahead of time!)
We have a list of dinosaurs named after famous people here.
- Named After: John Lennon, member of The Beatles.
- Reason: Part of a series of trilobites named after the Beatles members. ( there are also two named after Simon and Garfunkel)
- About the Creature: Avalanchurus lennoni is a trilobite that once scuttled across the sea floors during the Ordovician period, about 450 million years ago. These marine arthropods had segmented bodies and are ancestors of modern-day insects and crustaceans..
- Named After: Ringo Starr, drummer of The Beatles.
- Reason: Another trilobite in the series.
- About the Creature: This trilobite shares a lot with its counterpart, Avalanchurus lennoni. Living in the same era, these creatures were integral parts of their marine ecosystems, showcasing a diversity that astounds paleontologists today.
- Named After: Paul McCartney, member of The Beatles.
- Reason: Continuing the theme of trilobites named after Beatles members.
- About the Creature: Another trilobite from the Ordovician period, (there were alot), Struszia mccartneyi would have experienced a world vastly different from today, a silent underwater realm where early life was rapidly changing.
- Named After: Barack Obama, 44th President of the USA.
- there are actually 9 lifeforms ( but no dinosaurs yet, named after Barack Obama, this one was a trapdoor spider.
- About the Creature: This trapdoor spider is a recent resident of our planet, lurking in North American habitats. These spiders are known for their ingenious burrows, using camouflaged lids to ambush unsuspecting prey.
- Named After: Johnny Depp.
- Reason: The creature’s claws reminded the discoverer of Edward Scissorhands, a character played by Depp.
- About the Creature: Kootenichela deppi is an ancient aquatic arthropod from the early Cambrian period, over 500 million years ago. With long, spiny claws, this creature likely roamed the oceans as both predator and scavenger.
- Named After: Beyoncé, the famous singer.
- Reason: Not a dinosaur, but a species of horsefly with a golden rear end, humorously linked to the artist.
- About the Creature: This horsefly is distinct with its shimmering gold rear end. Existing today, it’s a reminder of the vast diversity of insect life.
- Named After: Michael Crichton, author of “Jurassic Park.”
- Reason: Named in his honor due to his contribution to popularizing dinosaurs.
- About the Creature: A herbivorous dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period, around 100 million years ago, Crichtonsaurus was an ankylosaur, boasting armored plates across its back and a clubbed tail for defense.
- Named After: Terry Pratchett, the English fantasy author.
- Reason: A prehistoric turtle named in honor of the author, who frequently incorporated turtles into his novels.
- About the Creature: A prehistoric turtle from the Eocene epoch, around 40 million years ago. These turtles are believed to have inhabited warmer waters and might have been some of the largest of their kind.
- Named After: Michael Jackson, the King of Pop.
- Reason: An extinct hermit crab species named in his honor.
- About the Creature: An extinct hermit crab species that existed millions of years ago. With a protective shell and mobile home, these crabs showcase the adaptability of crustaceans throughout Earth’s history.
- Named After: Mark Knopfler, lead guitarist of the rock band Dire Straits.
- Reason: The paleontologists frequently listened to the band’s music during their fieldwork.
- About the Creature: A predatory dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, Masiakasaurus had forward-pointing teeth at the front of its jaws, hinting at a specialized feeding strategy, possibly on fish and other small prey.
- Named After: Hogwarts, the school of witchcraft and wizardry from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.
- Reason: Its skull resembles that of a dragon, and the name means “dragon king of Hogwarts.” Also Draco was a character in Harry potter
- About the Creature: A dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous, Dracorex had a spiky skull and long horns. Though it looked fierce, this member of the pachycephalosaurid family was likely herbivorous.
- Named After: Professor Challenger from Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel “The Lost World.”
- Reason: The fossil was slightly altered by dealers, “irritating” the paleontologists who examined it as well as for professor challenger.
- About the Creature: A spinosaurid dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous period, Irritator had a long snout filled with conical teeth, suggesting it preyed on fish. Its name also humorously references the irritation researchers felt due to a fake snout added to its fossil.
- Named After: Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of “The Lost World.”
- Reason: Named in honor of Doyle’s depiction of pterosaurs in his novel.
- About the Creature: A pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous, Arthurdactylus had long, pointed wings and a wingspan of about 4.5 meters. These flying reptiles ruled the skies, gliding gracefully above the dinosaurs below.
- Named After: Sir David Attenborough, the famed naturalist and broadcaster.
- Reason: In recognition of Attenborough’s significant contributions to popularizing natural history.
- About the Creature: A marine reptile from the Early Jurassic period, this plesiosaur boasted long necks and strong flippers. They were agile swimmers, preying on fish and cephalopods in ancient oceans.
- Named After: Mick Jagger, the lead singer of the Rolling Stones.
- Reason: The species had large, sensitive lips, reminiscent of Jagger’s famous pout.
- About the Creature: This ancient mammal from the Oligocene epoch, around 30 million years ago, had large lips and a robust snout. As a part of the anthracothere family, it might have been semi-aquatic.
- Named After: Philippe Taquet, a French paleontologist.
- Reason: To honor Taquet’s contributions to the understanding of the dinosaur fauna of Africa.
- About the Creature: A sauropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period, Nigersaurus had a wide mouth lined with numerous small teeth, indicating it likely fed on ferns and other low-lying vegetation.
- Named After: Leaellyn Rich, daughter of paleontologists Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich.
- Reason: Named in recognition of the support and contributions of her parents during their research.
- About the Creature: A small, herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Australia. With large eyes, it’s believed that this creature was adapted to the polar darkness of its habitat.
While is is much more likely to see a dinosaur named after the discoverer or the sponsoring group and even after its appearance there is still fun to be had and dinosaurs named after famous people do exist.
it is another way to name a dinosaur, though finding anew one may be easier than becoming famous just on the chance someone will name one after you!
Hi, I am Roy Ford a General Studies and English Teacher who has taught all over the world. What started as a fossil collection became a great way to teach, motivate and inspire students of all ages and all over the world about dinosaurs and from that and children’s love of dinosaurs came the site dinosaur facts for kids, a resource for all ages.