Texas Researchers Name Extinct Beaver Species After Buc-ee’s

This ancient creature would have certainly loved Beaver Nuggets!

A. buceei

UT Austin/Jackson School of Geosciences/Matthew Brown

Researchers at University of Texas at Austin have given a newly discovered species of ancient Texas beaver a most-fitting name: Anchitheriomys buceei, or A. buceei for short.

Steve May, a research associate at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences, said in a UT statement that the beaver’s Texas connection and a Buc-ee’s billboard are what inspired the name.

He was driving down a highway back in 2020 when he spotted a Buc-ee’s billboard boasting, “This is Beaver Country.” The phrase reminded May of the Texas beaver fossils he had been studying at UT’s Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections.

“I thought, ‘Yeah, it is beaver country, and it has been for millions of years,’” he recalled.

Steve May

UT Austin/Jackson School of Geosciences

May’s findings about A. buceei, along with another smaller species of beaver, were published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica this month. According to the paper, A. buceei existed in Texas about 15 million years ago and was about 30% larger than the modern beaver represented by Buc-ee’s toothy mascot.

Buceei scale

UT Austin/Jackson School of Geosciences/National Center for Health Statistics/USDA Forest Service

Buc-ee's was founded in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1982. The roadside oasis was named by CEO Arch Aplin II, who combined his childhood nickname and the name of his beloved dog, Buck. 

When Aplin learned about the inspiration for the name A. buceei, he reportedly told researchers that Buc-ee's may have a longer history in Texas than he originally thought. 

"Buc-ee's was founded in 1982, but we may need to rethink our beginnings," he mused.  

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