While the iconic Indiana Jones character portrayed by Harrison Ford might have a fear of snakes, the actor himself has received a unique honor in the form of a newly discovered snake species in Peru.
This snake, named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi, pays tribute to Ford’s dedication to environmental advocacy.
As the vice chair of the non-profit organization Conservation International, Ford’s efforts in conservation have been recognized through this naming.
Harrison Ford has previously lent his name to an ant species called Pheidole harrisonfordi, as well as a spider species known as Calponia harrisonfordi. Reflecting on these unexpected honors, Ford remarked: “These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children. I don’t understand.”
He jokingly noted: “I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night.”
“In all seriousness, this discovery is humbling. 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,” he added.
Harrison concluded his reaction to the latest animal-related honor with an important reminder: “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.”
In contrast to his on-screen persona as Indiana Jones, Harrison Ford has consistently expressed a genuine fondness for snakes, contrary to his character’s aversion.
He noted; “The snake’s got eyes you can drown in, and he spends most of the day sunning himself by a pool of dirty water — we probably would’ve been friends in the early ’60s,” he said. “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.”
The Tachymenoides harrisonfordi is a slender snake, reaching a modest length of 16 inches (40.6 cm) upon maturity. Importantly, it poses no threat to humans.
“For a biologist, describing a new species and making it public with its new name is one of the most vital activities during the biodiversity crisis,” said Edgar Lehr, the lead scientist on the project. “Only organisms that are known can be protected.”
He hopes the discovery will draw attention to the extinction crisis facing species around the world.