Saturday, June 2, 2012

J.K. Rowling gets a Dinosaur: How we've changed Nomenclature

If you've ever read one of those 'Field Guides to American Wild Life' or heard the name homo sapiens you've got some vague familiarity with scientific nomenclature. The lofty system of classifying living things and giving them uncomfortably long Greco-Roman names, well except when we got to Africa and somehow got lazy with names like gazella gazella and gorilla gorilla gorilla.
Clue-neither are cheetahs.
Latin for this 'cutefusing'
But it seems that either scientists have run out of greek and latin words or they are just giving into their true geek desires. Case in point a dinosaur discovered recently named Dracorex hogwartsia, or if you don't speak latin 'the dragon-king of Hogwarts.' To clarify while Sirius Black was named after a nearby star named from Greek and Remus Lupin's name is taken from the myth of a man raised by wolves Romulus and Remus and lupus is latin for wolf, Hogwarts is nothing classical. Just warts on a hog.
Moral of the story, those fancy names are gonna be replaced by science fiction and fantasy references. Coincidentally, Dracorex was on Primeval, the British science fiction programme about prehistoric monsters and time portals. Clearly all involved know their audience.
Next exhibit, planet Xena named after the sexual ambiguous warrior princess who gave nerds another reason to fantasize over mythology while thinking about girls in leather. While the celestial body 'official' name is actually Eris, the research team that discovered it referred to it as Xena for so long that the name stuck in the astronomical community.
Hell, Arthur C. Clark predicted that we would run out of names from the Greek Pantheon in Rendez-vous with Rama, hence the name Rama (The seventh avatar of Vishnu, for those not into Hindu mythology). He just didn't expect it so soon.
as if we needed another
Of course when the new scientists aren't naming things after magic places, or Greek warwomen, they simple name something after themselves. Like John Cleese. Yes, John Marwood (sweet middle name) Cleese of Monty Python. Fun fact, John Cleese loves lemurs so much that he makes regular expeditions to Madagascar to visit them and makes of 98% of the funding for various organization to protect them. Which bring us to avahi cleesei or the Bemaraha wooly lemur or better yet the John Cleese lemur.
Cleese and a lemur, my point exactly
So say good by to confusing Greco-Roman names like Monodon monoceros and prepare for for fish and dinosaurs named after Battlestar Galactica and the beasts of Mordor.

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