Harrison Ford responds after new species of 'terrifying' snake is named after him
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A new snake species has been named after Harrison Ford and he has a lot to say about it.
With the Indiana Jones actor's iconic line in Steven Spielberg’s 1981 blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark: "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" burnt into the collective memory of movie buffs world-wide, it seems to be a cheeky move on behalf of the Peruvian researchers who named this species after the star.
It was first uttered during a scene that sees the intrepid archaeologist in the Well of Souls surrounded by thousands of slithering reptiles.
While Indy is known to fear them, this snake was instead met with an enthusiastic response from the 81-year-old actor.
The slender snake, named 'Tachymenoides harrisonfordi', measures 16-inches long and is pale yellow/brown with black blotches, a black belly and copper-colored eyes, allowing to camouflage itself surrounding environment in its home in Peru’s Andes mountains.
Its discovery, logged in Salamandra scientific journal, was said to be a joint collaboration between Peruvian and American researchers when they found a lone male in May last year as it sunned itself in a swamp in Otishi National Park.
To each their own, I suppose.
Having also inspired the species name of an ant ( (Pheidole harrisonfordi) and a spider (Calponia harrisonfordi), Ford told The Hollywood Reporter: “These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children.
"I don’t understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night.”
But behind the humorous remark, Ford appeared to be moved by his new namesake, saying: “In all seriousness, this discovery is humbling. It’s a reminder that there’s still so much to learn about our wild world — and that humans are one small part of an impossibly vast biosphere.
"On this planet, all fates are intertwined, and right now, one million species are teetering on the edge of oblivion.
"We have an existential mandate to mend our broken relationship with nature and protect the places that sustain life.”
The move is said to honour the Star Wars star's honor history of environmental advocacy, including being vice chair of eco-organisation, Conservation International.
He joked to the organisation: "The snake’s got eyes you can drown in, and he spends most of the day sunning himself by a pool of dirty water — we probably would’ve been friends in the early ‘60s.”
Edgar Lehr, a professor of biology at Illinois Wesleyan University and one of the researchers behind the discovery said the team is 'honored' that Ford accepted the snake’s new name.
“We hope the new snake will create awareness about the importance of biological fieldwork that intends to discover the unknown — often an adventurous and expensive process requiring more financial support from funding agencies. " he explained.
"Only organisms that are known can be protected."