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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Endless Forms, Humour, Fun and Games, Kim in Print | 0 comments

Fun with Taxonomy: On naming the animals .. and everything else

What else would you name this orange sponge but Spongiforma squarepantsii?  (Photo: Tom Bruns; CC BY 3.0)

What else would you name this orange sponge but Spongiforma squarepantsii? (Photo: Tom Bruns; CC BY 3.0)

If you had the opportunity, what would you name a new species …or nebula or gene? I’ve often thought about that and it always seemed a job of great responsibility; to endow something with a name that people will use forever.  I always pictured scientists poring through Latin and Greek texts or the archives of great scientists who have gone before them, looking for just the right name that will hold up for eternity.

Well it turns out this is not always the sober endeavor I thought it was. Species and other scientific objects are named for everything from pop stars and cartoon characters to political figures and cleaning products. Really, just about anything you can think of might end up in an official scientific name. For a fun romp through some of those names, check out my post over at Science Borealis,  Pop Star Taxonomy: What’s in a name?

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