15 million-year-old ‘Star Wars’ fossils found
In Spain, scientists have found the fossils of a mammal that looks like something out of Star Wars!
On top of its head, this giraffe-like animal has got three horns, one being much bigger than the other two. The ancient animal has been given the scientific name of Xenokeryx amidalae. That means strange horn of Amidala. The scientist naming the animal thought it looked a lot like Queen Amidala from the film Star Wars.
“Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, it was great to mix my two passions,” said scientist Israel Sanchez, leader of the team behind the find. “Xenokeryx amidalae’s homeland in Spain would have been a warm grassland populated with rhinos, early elephant relatives, deer, crocodiles and ‘bear dogs’,” he added.
The deer-sized Xenokeryx was an herbivore so it only ate plants. The males had two small giraffe-like horns above their eyes and a larger one at the back of the head quite close to its ears, shaped a bit like the letter T. These horns were likely used for butting, just like male antelopes do today.
The strange animal is thought to have roamed Europe about 15 million years ago.
“ I think it is most extraordinary that it has been found because you would think that they would have disintegrated, but then again dinosaurs bones are found all over the place,” said one intrigued primary school pupil.
Alice, Year 6
Heighington Millfield Primary Academy