Species Named after Famous Musicians: Mick Jagger, Beyoncé, Bono, Jim Morrison and Many More
Mick Jagger had the honor (or something like it), as Music Times reporter Carolyn Menyes wrote earlier this week, of having an extinct species of pig named after him. The paleontologist behind the title admitted to being a fan of The Rolling Stones and noted that the species had "tactile" lips that assisted in its lifestyle of eating aquatic vegetation.
Jagger must be flattered by the comparison.
The news itself isn't that shocking: scientists are naming stuff after musicians all the time. We've narrowed down a majority of the organisms and their respective titles into five categories. Check 'em out below.
It appears that there were thousands of trilobite species that previously scuttled around our planet. Somewhat unfortunate as they aren't especially glorious creatures and the term "trilobite" is often misused as a term for idiot, being mistaken for the proper word "troglodyte." There are so many species and subspecies that scientists have taken to naming them after every member in a group. Both Jagger and Keith Richards have been 'bited, as have the entirety of the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, plus Simon & Garfunkel. Lucky you!
02) Awkward Come-Ons to Famous Pop Stars
There's a science to pop music. We appreciate a well-written tune as much as anyone but we all know that having a slamming bod is what really sells to the masses. Who better to understand the reality than scientists? In fact, various species have been named after pop stars because the organism in question reminded those responsible of the rear-ends and various male magnet body parts of said pop stars. One example: the aleiades Shakirae, a wasp that was so-titled because its poison caused victim insects to writhe like a certain Colombian icon's hips. Even better: The scaptia Beyoncea was so named because of its vibrant, golden behind, which apparently reminded the namer of the mystical aura that surrounds Beyoncé's bootylicious backside at all times. Oh by the way...this is basically a glorified housefly we're talking about.
03) Music References
The previous two categories have been less than complimentary to those honored with the namings of species. The creatures mentioned in this listing are much more clever. One is the aptostichus bonoi, a spider named after U2 vocalist Bono. That might seem like a diss at first but you need to read into the reasoning: The species only resides in Joshua Tree National Park, from which U2's greatest album takes its title. If anyone should be offended, it should be The Edge. T-Rex (the dinosaur, not the band) already claims the title "king of the lizards," but a paleontologist gave homage to Jim Morrison's famous line "I am the lizard king" by naming the huge, iguana-like barbaturex Morrisoni after him.
04) Behavioral Tendencies
The most insulting title on this list, if taken the wrong way, might be cryptocerus Garciai, a branch of cockroaches named after Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia. Think hard however: The guitarist was a fan of roaches of his own and we're not talking about the insects. A clever play on words. One scientist named a species of mite after James Brown, literally translating his name to the Latin version, "Iagobadius." They took some liberties with the historic language when listing the genus however, turning the otherwise mundane triplogynium title to "funkotriplogynium."
05) Physical Resemblance
Frank Zappa has had as many species named after him as any musician but only one was named for its striking resemblance to him: the pachygnatha Zappa, a species of orb-weaving spider. It only shared on characteristic with the legendary guitarist however: the discoverer of the species noted that the markings on its underside were dead-on similar to the famous mustache of Zappa.
Editor's Note: We were shocked that, although many species have been named after members of The Beatles, none of them have been an actual beetle. Correct us if we're wrong, science.