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James Hetfield inspires name of newly discovered venomous snake species

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for BB Gun

Introducing Atheris hetfieldi: the most metal of all the snakes.

The newly discovered species of the venomous African bush viper is named after Metallica frontman James Hetfield. The snake measures up to 52 cm long and inhabits the Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea

Speaking to Metal Hammer, Dr. Luis Ceriaco, who led the team that discovered the species, describes the look of Atheris hetfieldi as “a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance, which certainly is consonant with the image of a singer of an Heavy Metal band.”

“Both me and Mariana Marques, the second author of the paper, are big fans of Metallica and James Hetfield since a very young age,” Ceriaco says. “We wanted to honor him, as a thank you for all the good vibes his music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers.”

Earlier this year, scientists announced the discovery of Macrostylis metallicola, a “worm-like” deep-sea crustacean named after the metal legends.

In other Metallica news, the band’s S&M2 live album, recorded during their two shows accompanied by the San Francisco Symphony last September, is out today.

By Josh Johnson
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