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New Animal Species Named After Harrison Ford!

snake species Harrison Ford
Credit: Disney

Otishi National Park is located in the Junín and Cusco regions of Peru, and is one of the most dangerous and unexplored areas in the world. The National Park is near the heart of the country’s cocoa production, but it is also a major area for the trafficking of narcotics. The area is so dangerous that the US State Department has deemed it “unsafe” for American travelers. However, that did not stop one American herpetologist — a zoologist who studies reptiles and amphibians — from traveling there.

Otishi National Park

Credit: Inkayni Peru Tours

And what he discovered has an amazing Disney connection.

Dr. Edgar Lehr is a biology professor at Illinois Wesleyan University and is the man who decided to venture into the treacherous area. While there, with a local guide and three fellow herpetologists, the professor discovered a new species of snake. It was approximately a foot and a half long and its scales “scales are threaded in copper,” according to the doctor’s paper.

Dr Edgar Lehr

Credit: Illinois Wesleyan University

When examining the snake, Professor Lehr had a fun thought — wouldn’t it be fun to name the snake after Harrison Ford? So that’s what he did. The new snake species has the scientific name Tachymenoides harrisonfordi.

Almost everyone who is familiar with Harrison Ford knows that the legendary actor originated the role of Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones in the 1970s. Indiana Jones was a lot of things, smart, brave, good-looking, and knew his way around a whip. However, one thing he was not a fan of was snakes. One of his most famous phrases is “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?”

Harrison Ford Snake

Credit: Dr. Edgar Lehr

The irony of the name is one of the things that makes the discovery even more fun and exciting.

An Incredible Discovery in a Deadly Area

It was an exploration story that sounds like it came straight out of Hollywood.

Otishi National Park is located next to an area known as “the VRAEM” — the Valley of Rivers Apurímac, Ene, Mantaro. As stated above, it is an area infamously known for drug trafficking, particularly cocaine. The area also has the nickname “Peru’s cocaine valley.” Because of this, Otishi National Park is considered, “Peru’s least scientifically surveyed national park.”

Otishi National park

Credit: Inkayni Peru Tours

During the trek through the National Park, the group of explorers happened upon a camp, but they thought that it was abandoned. They later heard voices in the area, which indicated they were wrong about the camp being abandoned. At one point, they also realized that a drone was flying above them. The traffickers were trying to discover the group’s exact location.

Dr. Edgar Lehr

Credit: Illinois Wesleyan University

Lehr and his companions realized they needed to leave ASAP. However, due to storms in the area, it took a military helicopter four days to rescue them. Thankfully, their camp was never found and they were able to safely escape.

Lehr is disappointed that the biodiversity in the area may never be discovered because the area is simply too dangerous for scientists to go back to. But he does say that discovering the new species made the entire trip worth it. During his travels, Lehr has made more than 100 scientific discoveries, including new species of snakes and lizards.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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