"Iron Maiden is a popular band among taxonomists and museum curators": Scientists in Peru name a new species of lizard after Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson, plus lizard
(Image credit: John McMurtrie | Axel Marchelie)

Scientists in Peru have named a new species of lizard after Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.

Enyalioides dickinsoni was found in the Cordillera de Colán mountain range 460 miles north of Lima, Peru. The species will be known as 'Dickinson's wood lizards' in English. 

According to the Journal of Vertebrate Biology website, "Enyalioides dickinsoni can be distinguished from all known species of Enyalioides, except E. azulae, by the combination of the following characters: 1) a distinctively low vertebral crest, with the crest on neck at most twice as high as the crest between hind limbs; 2) scales immediately posterior to superciliaries on lateral edge of skull barely projected and similar in height to adjacent scales; 3) 56-71 vertebral scales from occiput to base of tail; 4) dorsal scales feebly keeled and heterogeneous in size; 5) ventral scales keeled; 6) tail circular in cross-section; and 7) caudal scales heterogeneous, increasing in size posteriorly on each segment."

The website also states, "The specific name is a noun in the genitive form and is a patronym honouring Paul Bruce Dickinson (born 7 August 1958), who is best known as the lead singer of the legendary heavy metal band Iron Maiden, though he is also a music producer, entrepreneur, competitive fencer, novelist, aviator, broadcaster and the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards. In 2016, he flew a loggerhead sea turtle, Caretta caretta, that washed up on a Jersey beach to the Canary Islands in his private plane, thus contributing to the awareness and protection of this vulnerable species. We also highlight that Iron Maiden is a popular band among taxonomists and museum curators who appreciate rock music."

According to the Latin American Post website, the naming of Enyalioides dickinsoni in honour of Dickinson "is a testament to the enduring influence of cultural figures on scientific discovery. It's a reminder of the interconnectedness of our world, where the legacy of a heavy metal icon can extend into the realms of environmental conservation and scientific research. This discovery not only enriches our understanding of the biodiversity of the Amazon but also celebrates the multifaceted contributions of individuals like Dickinson to global culture and awareness."

Dickinson's new solo album The Mandrake Project will be released on March 1 via BMG. And you can read all about it in the new issue of Metal Hammer.

Bruce Dickinson on the cover of Metal Hammer

(Image credit: Future (Cover shot: John McMurtrie))
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.