A jellyfish named Frank Zappa? An ape named John Cleese? A horsefly named Beyonce? Interestingly enough, it has become commonplace for scientists to name new species after celebrities. This practice in taxonomy is fun and surprisingly, the scientists do not need to seek permission from the namesakes.

This humorous but interesting topic was found on Times Live in their article, “Celebrity names getting used more and more in taxonomy.” Taxonomy guru Carl Linnaeus laid down the rules way back in 1735. The person who discovers a new species gets to name it.  So if Bob Marley was offended at being the inspiration for a blood-sucking parasite? Well, too bad. Same for the fern, if it was offended at being named after Lady Gaga.

Melody K. Smith

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