BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WTVO) — A biologist at Illinois Wesleyan University has named a new species of snake after actor Harrison Ford in a nod to “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Ford’s character, Indiana Jones, has a hatred of snakes apparently stemming from a time in his youth when he fell into a crate of reptiles onboard a Dunn & Duffy circus train while pursuing a jewel-encrusted golden crucifix once held by conquistador Hernando Cortes, according to a flashback in the third movie in the series, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
Indy’s ophidiophobia became a reoccurring theme since its introduction in “Raiders.”
“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” became a pop-culture touch-tone.
IWU biologist Edgar Leher discovered what is now known as “Harrison Ford’s Slender Snake” during an expedition to Peru in May 2022, according to NPR.
“The snake was a big surprise as we did not expect to find a snake in a high elevational swamp,” said Lehr.
The snake is described as a black-bellied reptile with copper eyes, with pale yellowish-brown skin and scattered black blotches.
The scientific name for the snake is “Tachymenoides harrisonfordi.”
“I was surely influenced by the commercial of the new ‘Indiana Jones’ movie and the fear of snakes of Indiana Jones. Knowing that Mr. Harrison Ford is an active conservationist who actually likes snakes, his voice for nature and his service as vice chair of Conservation International led to the idea of dedicating this species to him,” said Lehr.
“These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children. I don’t understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night,” Ford, 81, joked in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Ford has also inspired the name of an ant (Pheidole harrisonfordi) and a spider (Calponia harrisonfordi).
“In all seriousness, this discovery is humbling,” Ford added. “It’s a reminder that there’s still so much to learn about our wild world — and that humans are one small part of an impossibly vast biosphere. On this planet, all fates are intertwined, and right now, one million species are teetering on the edge of oblivion. We have an existential mandate to mend our broken relationship with nature and protect the places that sustain life.”
Ford most recently returned to his iconic screen character with this year’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”