I love it when scientists are geeky with taxonomy. There was that time paleontologists named a dinosaur “Eye of Sauron.” (In Greek, of course.) There’s a wasp named after Lady Gaga. And now President Barack Obama has a species of his own, too: Obamadon gracilis, a small prehistoric lizard rendered extinct by the same asteroid strike widely thought to have killed the dinosaurs.
Why was the Obamadon named the Obamadon? Because of its teeth, of course.
Says the team who discovered the Obamadon, “The genus name refers to Barack Hussein Obama and odon (tooth in Greek), in reference to the tall, straight teeth, and the manner in which Mr Obama has acted as a role model of good oral hygiene for the world.”
Huh. If I were going to name a species based on the superior teeth of a politician, I’d have gone with Joe Biden—his teeth have their own website! But Obama does have good teeth, and Obamadon has a better ring to it than Bidenodon.
Says team leader Dr. Nicholas Longrich, “No one should impute any political significance to the decision to name the extinct lizard after the recently re-elected U.S. president. We’re just having fun with taxonomy.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Taken as a group, scientists are quite possibly the nerdiest people on the planet.
(via: Topless Robot)
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