Scientists have named a recently discovered giraffe species after a “Star Wars” character, as they reportedly look alike.
The creature’s scientific name is Xenokeryx amidalae, a reference to Queen Amidala, the mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
Amidala is played by Natalie Portman in Episodes I to III. In one scene of Episode I, she appears in an intricate costume that includes a multi-pronged headdress.
Scientists thought her headdress looked similar to the head of this extinct giraffe, which lived between 11.5 million to 16 million years ago. Fossils of the giraffe have been discovered in Germany and Spain, although scientists say it may have roamed as far as China.
While announcing the discovery of the giraffe on December 2, a Spanish paleontologist said that the giraffe’s largest, T-shaped horn is “extremely similar to one of the hairstyles that Amidala shows off in ‘Star Wars’ Episode 1 when she is the queen of her home planet Naboo.”
The paleontologist confessed that he is a “lifelong Star Wars fan” and that he enjoyed having this chance to combine his two passions.
However, reportedly only male giraffes had this distinctive horn, which was likely used to attract females instead of fighting rivals. Additionally, males had large canine-like teeth, which females also lacked.
Modern giraffes have bumps on their head, but they have evolved to look very different from their “Amidala” ancestor.
The amidalae giraffe isn’t the only animal to have been named after a Star Wars character. Earlier this year, scientists discovered a new species of catfish in South America, and named it after bounty hunter Greedo, who appears in the first “Star Wars” movie. Scientists decided on the name Peckoltia greedoi after a lab assistant remarked that the catfish’s giant, bulging eyes reminded him of Greedo, who is infamously shot by Han Solo after a brief scene in a galactic bar — or was it Greedo who shot first? Debate it all you want, Harrison Ford doesn’t care.
Personally, we think the resemblance between Greedo and the catfish is a lot more striking than the one between Natalie Portman and a giraffe.
There is also an ancient marine animal named after Han Solo. It lived up to 486 million years ago in the southern China sea.