Barack Obama just had a prehistoric lizard named in his honor. Can you…

Creative taxonomy — it's what happens when scientists discover an as-yet unnamed species and find some way to connect it to a person, place, or thing. Sometimes that person/place/thing is famous. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the connections between the two make perfect sense. Other times the connections are more… » 1/02/13 3:30pm 1/02/13 3:30pm

An entire genus of fern was just named after Lady Gaga, and the…

When most plants and animals get named after a celebrity (and believe us, this happens often), it's rarely for anything more significant than a poorly-imagined resemblance, or a shared country of origin. Such is not the case with Gaga germanotta and the 18 other species in the newly dubbed "Gaga" genus. » 10/25/12 6:40am 10/25/12 6:40am

The last time we redefined what it means to be human

Over the past decade, you may have noticed more and more articles referring to "hominins" rather than "hominids." Just why are Homo sapiens and her ancestors now called hominins? The answer isn't just semantic — it has to do with a revolution in the way evolutionary biologists perceive humans' place in the tree of… » 3/12/12 3:53pm 3/12/12 3:53pm

What are the very punniest scientific names?

You've gotta give it up for creative taxonomists — the scientists responsible for naming, and thereby classifying, newly discovered species. Without them, we'd never have species with names like the ant pictured above, who is named after a science fiction institution. (See if you can guess who it is — it's very » 8/24/11 2:20pm 8/24/11 2:20pm

Let Us Contemplate a Monster and Antagonist Relative Classification…

Over on MetaFilter, people have been a little concerned about the structure and purpose of our current monster smackdown, featuring cage matches between popular monsters. Commenter robocop is bleeding proposes an alternative to our (admittedly shallow) monster measurement contest. He writes: » 10/30/09 7:30am 10/30/09 7:30am

Cataloging 200,000 Alien Species Here on Earth

In our quest to discover alien life forms, humans have looked deep into space, sent landers to Mars. and launched probes into the outer reaches of the solar system. But marine biologists discover new life forms here on Earth all the time, many of them truly bizarre and as alien to terrestrial life as anything you'll… » 6/30/08 11:28am 6/30/08 11:28am