Date of release: Friday, June 17, 2016

 The fossil, named after Ian SlipperA newly-discovered fossil has been named after a University of Greenwich technician.

The fossil is of a microscopic crustacean – the Phacorhabdotus – which lived around 60 million years ago in the south eastern Atlantic. The team that made the discovery named it after Ian Slipper, an expert in the field.

Ian, an Electron Microscopy and Analytical X-ray technician within the university's Faculty of Engineering & Science, says: "Phacorhabdotus comes from a Greek term: phaco, meaning lentil and rhabdotus, meaning striped. So it is a striped lentil!"

Ian's interest in minerals and fossils began when he was a child, digging in the chalk on Dunstable Downs with his parents. He then studied to become a geological technician, which included palaeontology.

He adds: "From that I became interested in micropalaeontology, which is the study of even smaller fossils. It remains my hobby.

"The full name of this fossil is Phacorhabdotus slipperi Yasuhara, Hunt, Okahashi and Brandão 2015. The other names are the people who discovered it. I published two chapters in the significant book on the subject, Ostracods in British Stratigraphy, so I assume the discoverers of this fossil appreciated my work.

"In 2005, another Japanese team named a living crustacean that survives in the waters of Hokkaido after me (Semicytherura slipperi Yamada, Tsukagoshi & Ikeya 2005). So now I have one living creature and one fossil named after me. I guess I need to wait another ten years for the next one!"

Fossil names are usually Greek or Latin words, or they can be English and have the suffix modified to reflect either a Greek or Latin word. In this case Ian's name was formed into "slipperi". The initial in the surname is lower case in these instances.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: The fossil, named after Ian Slipper.