Scientists recently discovered a “punk rock” snail, who lives in dark, acidic, and hot environments deep in the ocean. It’s a snail that truly doesn’t give a fudge about what its mama has to say about staying out late in dangerous places. A snail this cool can only deserve the name that represents cool, so, of course, the scientists went and named the snail Alviniconcha strummeri… after lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of The Clash, Joe Strummer.
Of course, Strummer is hardly the only celebrity to have an animal named after them, or even a snail for that matter. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites. (Warning: Most of the animals are extinct or are insects and spiders, which are scary.)
Amaurotoma zappa: Let’s start this one off with another snail named after a late rock icon, Frank Zappa. The snail in question here has actually been extinct for some 300 million years. Like Zappa’s record sales in his day, the snail wasn’t very large. Since this snail was found in the late-'60s, it can be assumed that the scientist who discovered it was a big fan of Zappa.
Coloborhynchus spielbergi: If you can’t tell by the name, this is an animal named after Steven Spielberg. Now, what animal could it be that would be associated with the director of such films as War Horse and Lincoln? Could it be a horse? Abe Lincoln? No. Maybe you’ll also remember he directed a little film called Jurassic Park, which is all about dinosaurs attacking innocent blood-sucking lawyers, hard-working paleontologists, and some trust fund kids. The Coloborhynchus spielbergi is a dinosaur… and it flies! Much like the career of this Dreamworks owner. (Fun fact: Look at close up pictures of tapeworms, they look just like E.T.... Coincidence?)
Aptostichus stephencolberti: AH! A spider! But it’s named after “The Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert… maybe it’ll tell us jokes instead of spraying webs and trying to kill us in our sleep. Speaking of spiders being sneaky, anybody notice this in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug last year?
The whole reason Colbert got the spider named after him is that he made an “angry” report on the “Colbert Report” about a spider named Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, which is named after CANADIAN (angering the red-blooded American Colbert even more) rock star Neil Young.
Now we’re brought to the five different species of the same animal with something else in common. Check out the extinct species of the prehistoric Trilobite named the Arcticalymene cooki, jonesi, matlocki, rotteni, and viciousi. For those of you not familiar with early-'70s British punk rock, this extinct animal has five different species named for the five members of the influential punk rock band the Sex Pistols! My grandma still thinks they’re guns that I shouldn’t buy, but regular ones are a okay…
Agra katewinsletae: Look out! It’s a beetle! But it’s named after the lovely actress Kate Winslet. Unlike its namesake, this beetle is anything but beautiful, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, when I think of Kate Winslet, I don’t think of bugs; I think of the painting scene in Titanic and the anticipation I had as an elementary school kid that I would get to see boobs for the first time. Thanks, Kate! I was only seven or eight!
Avahi cleesei, or the Bemaraha woolly lemur, is a primate named after Monty Phython member and tall British man with a moustache John Cleese. Does the lemur look like Cleese? If only the lemur could grow a moustache, but the animal is named after Cleese because of his personal fondness for lemurs. The man even made a documentary on lemurs, but it’s only available on VHS… and Youtube! What a world we live in:
Man, if getting an animal named after you means you just have to be a celebrity and be a fan of an animal, then look out, World! Someday, I’ll be famous and I’ll have goats named after me!