Step Aside, Milli Vanilli's Fly! Make Room, Harrison Ford's Ant! The John Cleese Lemur Cometh!

Cleese's Lemur Love Rewarded

from E! Online

That Monty Python snake didn't work out. But thanks to his tongue-in-cheek love for lemurs - and his real-life interest in animal conservation - John Cleese has secured a place in the annals of science.

Cleese, who played a lemur-happy zookeeper in the 1997 film Fierce Creatures and hosted 1998 documentary Born to Be Wild: Operation Lemur with John Cleese, the comic now has a new species of the primate named after him.

Researches at Zurich University have dubbed a tiny, leaf-loving lemur in Madagascar the avahi cleesei. The endangered, two-pound furry creature was discovered in the western region of the country in 1990 by the Zurich team, but wasn't named until now.

Cleese has yet to comment on the distinction, but word is he's pretty pleased.

Cleese and his fellow Pythons were previously honored by the geek set in 1985 via the Montypyhtonoides riversleighensis, a fossil snake (get it?). However, the critter was later renamed.

Celeb-based scientific monikers for animal species are nothing new. Charlie Chaplin (fly), Laurel and Hardy (cicadas), Abbott and Costello (booby), Simon and Garfunkel (trilobites), the Beatles (many, including trilobites), the Rolling Stones (trilobites), James Brown (mite), Elvis Presley (dinosaur), Orson Welles (spider), Steven Spielberg (a dinosaur), Harrison Ford (a spider and an ant), Marilyn Monroe (trilobite), Greta Garbo (wasp), Mark Knopfler (dinosaur), Metallica (wasp), the Grateful Dead (chironomid), Sting (tree frog), the Sex Pistols (trilobites), Frank Zappa (many, including a spider and fish) and even Milli Vanilli (a bee fly) have been so honored. In March, Ellen DeGeneres tried to get a monkey named after her via an online auction, but she was outbid by the gambling website Golden Palace.


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