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Reptile is named after anti-Thatcher cartoonist

DINO Cuspicephalus scarfi

DINO Cuspicephalus scarfi

A NEW species of flying reptiles discovered by a University of Portsmouth palaeontologist has been named after the artist famous for his notorious caricatures of Margaret Thatcher.

The pterosaur identified by Dr David Martill at the university’s school of earth and environmental studies, is named Cuspicephalus scarfi – after Gerald Scarfe, the political cartoonist who depicted Mrs Thatcher as a pointy-nosed ‘Torydactyl’.

Mr Scarfe said: ‘I’m thrilled and flattered. I never thought Mrs Thatcher would do anything for me – even if it is to be immortalised as a 155m-year-old fossil. I have spent holidays in Kimmeridge (in Dorset, where the fossil was found) and to think my namesake was buried beneath my feet is wonderfully bizarre.’

Dr Martill said: ‘I’ve always been a fan of Gerald Scarfe because he’s so cruelly funny.

‘I didn’t seek his permission to use his name as he doesn’t gain permission to depict the characters he has inked, but thankfully, I’ve since found out, he’s thrilled. Although the new pterosaur discovery has a strong resemblance to his caricature of Margaret Thatcher, pterosaurs were never as divisive as Thatcher’

 

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