Recently I heard my lovely husband laughing as he read his copy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Now, that German newspaper is not known for laughs and so I wondered what had tickled his fancy. He showed me the short report, accompanied by a photo, “Moth named after Donald Trump.”
You can see the unfortunate moth above (Close up of the Head of a Male Neopalpa donaldtrumpi [image] | EurekAlert! Science News).
The BBC reported: “The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi was discovered in California by researcher Vazrick Nazari, of Ottawa, Canada.The name was inspired by the striking golden flakes covering its head, which he likened to Donald Trump’s famous mop.”
How interesting! And it turns out that Barack Obama had no less than nine species named after him:
These include various fish, a lizard, a variety of lichen and a spider.
Recently a group of my brilliant students gave me a wonderful present: I am now the proud sponsor of a Humboldt Penguin in the zoo at Bremerhaven. Here I am with my certificate. (Don’t worry, it’s not a real penguin under the glass. It’s made of paper.)
After learning about that poor old moth, I wondered why these penguins were called Humboldt penguins. I found out that Humboldt penguins come from South America. They get their name from the cold sea current that runs along the west coast of South America from Chile to Peru, which was named after the explorer Alexander von Humboldt.
It turns out that between 17,000 to 24,000 animal species are identified every year and the scientists who identify the new species choose the name – which can reference where it was found, what it looks like or just a person the scientist likes or admires.
As I write, events in the USA seem to have gone beyond the moth stage. History tells us that appeasement never works, that expecting a person to change just because they get a different job is naive, and that it doesn’t take much for a democracy to wobble.
It’s a shame that the events of last week overshadowed two marvellous results: Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff being elected as Senators for Georgia.
The audacity of hope.