Scientists Name New Dinosaur Species After 'Avatar's' Dragon Creatures

We've officially reached a new level of geekdom. It used to be, when you were a fan of a movie something, you just saw it a few times in theaters. Then maybe you bought some merchandise. Hung a poster on your wall. Then you started going to conventions. Dressing up. Maybe you took it up a notch with a tattoo or naming your child after a character. That was pretty much as crazy as things could get.

Last week though, Chinese scientists took things to another level. They found fossils to a new dinosaur species and named it after a creature in James Cameron's Avatar. Below read more about, and see photos of, the Avatar dinosaur.

The Avatar dinosaur news broke via Reuters.

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of fossils in China of a new species of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled the creatures from the 2009 film that they named it after them. It is called Ikrandraco avatar, meaning "Ikran dragon" from "Avatar."

Here is a side by side of the real species and Avatar species. (Note: the movie refers to these as "Banshee's" but the Na'vi call them 'Ikran.'")

Thanks to REUTERS/CHUANG ZHAO/HANDOUT for the sketch on the left.

"The head structure is similar in this pterosaur to the Ikran in 'Avatar,'" paleontologist Xiaolin Wang of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing told Reuters. "Of course, nobody and nothing can ride this pterosaur."

The reason I say this is a whole new level of geekdom is tattooing your body or naming your own child after something you love only effects you. That's a personal decision. This is a group of researchers and scientists naming something that belongs to the entire world. An extreme case of life imitating art.

Now, the only way this could get more wild, funny and out there would be if a Ikrandraco avatar ended up in a sequel to Jurassic World. With the Avatar sequels on the way, we can dream about the crossover, no?

Do you think it's cool the scientists did this? Do you agree with the Avatar dinosaur naming?