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Scientists name new dinosaur after a creature from 'Avatar'

Scientists name new dinosaur after a creature from 'Avatar'

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One of the perks of discovering a new species of dinosaur is that you get to name it whatever you want, even if it's a movie reference. Last week, a group of paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences put that rule to the test when they decided to name their latest find the "Ikrandraci avatar" — literally, "the Ikran dragon from Avatar."

In the movie, Ikrans were the blue dragon-looking creatures that the Na'vi rode into battle, and apparently the scientists saw a resemblance. Their new find is a pterosaur with a pelican-like throat pouch and a wingspan of roughly eight feet, but the scientists say the name was inspired by an Ikran-like crest on the creature's lower jaw. The group believes the new pterosaur fed largely on fish from freshwater lakes, and the crest was useful for scooping them out of the water. Still, the artist's rendering looks more like a pelican than anything else, suggesting the group may have let their fandom get the best of them.

For comparison, here's the Ikran from Avatar, which is a lot bluer and less feathery than the Ikrandraci avatar.