Edward Scissorhands (Quicheisinsane/Flickr)

An ancient extinct species has been named after Johnny Depp because its fossil looks like his Edward Scissorhands character from the 1990 Tim Burton film.

David Legg, of Imperial College London, discovered the 505 million-year-old creature in fossil records. An ancestor of lobsters and scorpions, the animal would have lived in shallow seas similar to modern coastal environments off the coast of British Columbia in Canada.

It would have been a hunter or scavenger and used its large Edward Scissorhands-like claws to capture prey or probe the sea floor for creatures in the sediment.

Its official name is Kooteninchela deppi, after the actor Johnny Depp. Legg said: "When I first saw the pair of isolated claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think of Edward Scissorhands.

"Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes the reference to this film as 'chela' is Latin for claws or scissors. I am also a bit of a Depp fan and so what better way to honour the man than to immortalise him as an ancient creature that once roamed the sea?"

Kootenichela deppi fossil (Imperial College London)

Kooteninchela deppi would have lived during the Cambrian period and researchers are using the fossil to find out more about life on Earth at this time - when almost all modern animal types emerged.

The creature was about four centimetres long with an elongated trunk and millipede-like legs, which it could swim or walk with. It had eyes with many lenses, like a fly, which were positioned on top of movable stalks to help it search for food and avoid predators.

Legg said Kooteninchela deppi belongs to a group known as the great-appendage arthropods, which includes spiders, scorpions, crabs, millipedes and insects.

"Just imagine it: the prawns covered in mayonnaise in your sandwich, the spider climbing up your wall and even the fly that has been banging into your window and annoyingly flying into your face are all descendants of Kooteninchela deppi," he said.

"Current estimates indicate that there are more than one million known insects and potentially 10 million more yet to be categorised, which potentially means that Kooteninchela Deppi has a huge family tree."

Artist impression of Kootenichela deppi (Imperial College London)