researchers in University of Texas at Austin He named a newly discovered species of ancient beaver after Buc-ee’s, the department store chain best known for its mascot of the same name.
The new species is called “Anchitheriomys buceei” or “A. buceei” for the rest of us.
said co-investigator Steve May of the UT Jackson School of Geosciences Utah News The name was inspired by a Texas beaver connection and a chance encounter with a Buc-ee billboard that read: “This is Beaver Country.”
“I thought, yeah, it’s a beaver country, and it’s been like that for millions of years,” May told the outlet.
His paper describing the new species – as well as smaller species of fossil beaver – has been published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica. Bones and archival records indicate that the animal lived along Texas Gulf Coast between 15 and 22 million years ago.
Fossils also show that A. buceei was about 30% larger than the modern beavers that roam Texas today—although it is smaller than the “bear-sized” beavers of North America during ice Age.
Most of the fossils have been reconstructed from a partial skull from Bourkeville, Texas. It is a fusion of bone and brain that was created when sediment seeped into the beaver’s brain cavity, creating a rock replica of the brain as the specimen was excavated.
May and Matthew Brown, co-authors of the study, used high-resolution X-ray images of the skull to show the anatomical details that helped confirm that it was a new species.
After hearing the name of the new species, CEO and founder of Buc-ee Arch “Beaver” Aplin III quipped, “Buc-ee was founded in 1982, but we may need to rethink our beginnings.”
Buc-ee has become so deeply embedded in Texas culture that even the Alamo gave it a shout-out on social media in 2018.