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Re: Well - lookie here!

Forwarded from the Forteana list:
______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Re: Well - lookie here!
Author:  forteana@lists.primenet.com at smtp-fhu
Date:    4/07/96 1:27

Trippy wrote :

>Finds include 200 new mammal species, as well as birds, amphibians, reptiles, 
>fish, a unique insect fauna and many plants. Some have been given unusual names
>...and a seven-metre constrictor named... 
>have recently been joined by "fangaroo" a kangaroo with tusks. 

Whoah ! Careful there. I can remember raising this in this forum (and having 
it crossposted to a paleontology lists somewhere) and getting myself roundly 
toasted. I wrote the letter, celebrating the choice of names over the drier 
latin and grekk (or, even worse, aging scientists' names), but unwisely 
decided to use irony in an electronic forum (the comment was "people with
too much time on their hands" - meant in the nicest possible terms, of course).

I was duly informed by several hundred offended paleontologists that the 
names mentioned were only temperary and they have been replaced with 
conventional (read boring) nomenclature - can't remember what they are, of 

My favourite was the attempt to name an ancestoral platypus 
"Hotcrossbunodon" for the shape of its teeth. The International Nomenclature 
Committee were not impressed, and so the discoverers managed to get 
Kolikodon through (Kolikos was a greek breadroll).

On a similar vein, when Szent-Gyorgyi (I think) first described Vitamin C, 
its reducing qualities led him to believe it was a form of sugar similar to 
glucose. Using the accepted sugar naming practice of adding -ose to whatever 
they found, the still mystified Szent-Gyorgyi suggested Godnose. The 
Nomenclature Committee were not impressed, so he changed it to Ignose. Still 
sounds better than ascorbic acid. (Probably a scientific legend, but it's a 
good story to tell the students to give their writing hands a rest)

Whilst on the subject of sugars, my old boss at QUT used to like inventing 
new compounds for biochemistry exams. Glycolipids (sugar + fat) tend to be 
given the suffix -oside (eg. the glycosides I studied in my PhD were from 
Ascaris sp., hence ascarosides). Ernie set his last exam using a recently 
extracted glycoside from pigs which, in metabolically raised levels caused 
self-destructive behaviour in afflicted porkers. Free deep-fried mars bar to 
the first person to guess what he named it.


I don't know whether anyone else finds this interesting, but I'm having fun

Peter Darben,                                ph. 61 07 33502206
Worms, Bugs and Other Unpleasant Matters     email : wormman@thehub.com.au 
Brisbane, Oz.          http://www2.life.sci.qut.edu.au/darben/darbhome.htm 
"The New Age is what you get when you combine Hippies with Yuppies"
       - Phillip Adams