Thursday, February 05, 2009

Humor in Science

So the rule is this whomever finds a new species is given the privilege of coming up with the name for that new species. The only catch being that the name must fit with in the standard system of binomial nomenclature originally developed by Carolus Linneaus. Many people who find themselves in this position name their species after famous individuals in their field of science, some choose names related to the place the items were discovered or the indigenous groups that live there, but others... they seek to revere or to ridicule (with a sense of humor). 

There are a few I just love:
The paleontologist who loved 70's punk who found a few new species of ancient trilobytes and named them: Sid viciousi and Johnny rotteni

Quentin Wheeler, an Entomologist at London's Museum of Natural History, and one of his students discovered several new species of Slime Mold Beetles. 
They had to use the already named genus Adathidium but chose the species names, 

are you ready for this.... 

A. vaderi
and even better... 

A. bushi, A. rumsfeldi, and A. cheneyi

What is even better is that although this, I'm sure, was intended as a slight it earned Wheeler a call from the President telling him he was honored (WHAT?). 

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