Sectumsemper, A New Lizard Species Named from Harry Potter

Jun 05, 2015

Posted by: Catherine


Yesterday, the BBC reported that a new species of lizard had been found amongst fossils in a drawer of unidentified rocks at the University of Bristol. The fossilized lizard, discovered by student, Catherine Klein, showed signs of having incredible self-sharpening teeth. Its teeth could continue to get sharper with each bite it took, and cut past one another with finite precision. Ms. Klein named the new lizard Clevosaurus sectumsemper. As many fans will notice, the name is strikingly similar to the Half-Blood Prince’s original slashing spell, Sectumsempra. All the more praise of J.K. Rowling’s cleverness, Ms. Klein pointed out that the would sectumsemper means “always cut.” The BBC reports:


Measuring just 11cm (4in) from snout to tail, Clevosaurus sectumsemper is the smallest of the “Gloucester lizards”.

As part of a summer project, 21-year-old undergraduate Ms Klein extracted thousands of fossils from the rocks and was able to show “enough differences” from known clevosaurs to call it a new species.

It was able to “self-sharpen” its “blade-like teeth” with each bite.

“The species name sectumsemper means ‘always cut’, and was chosen to reflect this,” Ms Klein said.

“It is also a nod to the Harry Potter character Severus Snape, who made a spell called sectumsempra.”

He unwittingly uses the spell – which acts on its victim like an “invisible sword” – against nemesis Draco Malfoy, and gravely injures him.


This bit of news, coming within days of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) announcement of it’s dementor wasp, only gives more awe to the effect that J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has had, and continues to have, on the world.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.