Here’s an interesting strategy for raising money for research: Marc van Roosmalen is asking for internet donations to fund his work on Amazon primates. He’s not trying to raise much — his goal is $31,000 — and it’s a good cause. There’s also a prize! He’ll name a newly discovered monkey after the blogosphere, calling it Lagothrix blogii, the blog monkey. It will invite the obvious jokes about monkeys typing, but hey, it’s a cute monkey.
In spite of the good intention of Roosmalen, I think it is unfortunate to play games with zoological nomenclature. Perhaps, playing word games with characteristics of the species is acceptable, but extra-zoological factors are unwarranted. It is true that biological nomenclature has been used to homage naturalists (e.g. Bouganvillea from Bouganville). Perhaps it is time to replace the old binomial nomeclature by code numbers.
Colin J says
It’s a sad state of affairs when scientists have to resort to this kind of publicity stunt to get some research funding. I wish him well, but worry about the long term trends.
Methinks this is awesome! A blog monkey? We already have lots of those! How many creationist and/or religious right bloggers are there?
Actually, Didac, since this is something I’ve done a considerable amount of pondering; what you call something is not important when concerning what it is. Words can have any meaning we assign them. What we need is a system that describes the phylogeny of an organism in addition to a name which follows the current set of rules for ease of discussion.
nanu nanu says
hey didac… why so serious?
Any relation to Code Monkey? (google it)
The Petey says
…what you call something is not important when concerning what it is. Words can have any meaning we assign them.
so, if someone decided to name a species “Lagothrix porticus” that wouldn’t be important or a problem?
Greg Laden says
You have not seen the monkey yet. What if it is a new species of uakari!!!
I have it on the very best authority that the typing ‘monkeys’ are mostly members of Homo Sapiens sapiens .
Critics frequently point to a lack of literacy among said typing ‘monkeys’, but as we all know, many members of Homo Sapiens sapiens never achieve literacy.
Jason S says
I like the idea and have made a small donation.
Although I do agree with #2 that it’s sad that gimmicks like this are needed.
Gregory C. Mayer says
I don’t know anything about van Roosmalen other than what I could find in a few minutes of clicking on the above website, but from a zoological systematics point of view it looks pretty fishy. He claims to have several new species, and posts what look like descriptions, but only one seems to link to an actual published description of one of them (albeit in a respected journal), and he seems a bit confused over what a published species description is. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a whimsical name (there’s a long history of it: see http://www.curioustaxonomy.net ), although the Latinization seems awkward at best (the ending “-ii” is the genitive case for Latin personal names ending in “-ius”; thus the name means “Blogius’s Lagothrix, which is probably not what he had in mind), but there are problems with announcing a name prior to its publication, as this can confuse the authorship and date of publication of the validly published name, and clog up the nomenclature with unavailable names.
Since about three people in the world would get it, probably not.
“What we need is a system that describes the phylogeny of an organism in addition to a name which follows the current set of rules for ease of discussion.”
Its rapidly catching on.
Its called PhyloCode.
Gregory @ 11 makes a good point. If you’re naming a new species, you NEVER want that name to appear in print before it is properly named and described in a journal. This is because a species is considered to be named in the first publication that prints the name, and you don’t want that publication to be a newspaper or blog. You want it to appear first in a peer-reviewed journal.
As for whimsicality of names, I’m all for it. A pachycephalosaur dinosaur was recently named _Dracorex hogwartsia_ which translates as the Dragon King of Hogwarts. This name is perhaps a little over the top, but its certainly one I’ll remember.
It’s time that someone redo the lyrics to “Brass Monkey” to fit this.
Blog Monkey – that funky Monkey
Blog Monkey – junkie
That funky Monkey…
someone with better creative talent than myself at 10:00am, that is.
Darren Naish has discussed some of Marc van Roosmalen’s possible new discoveries over at Tetrapod Zoology. I’m posting a link to the first of several posts:
And frankly, NOTHING can beat the GoldenPalace.com Monkey ([i]Callicebus aureipalatii[/i])…
Its called PhyloCode.
I’ve often wondered why, since Latin was adopted in part to remove localized language references used in common names, there has been a trend to actually introduce localized pop culture and language back into it.
sure it’s fun, but doesn’t it defeat one of the reasons for utilizing Latin to begin with?
might as well go back to using common names, if that’s going to be the trend.
I really do like the PhyloCode movement.
save the “fun” stuff for the common name.
…example of fun common name:
my absolute favorite common name for a fish-
Neoclinus = good
blanchardi = superfluous naming after discoverer that adds no really useful information about the fish itself.
Lagothrix? My Latin sucks, but ain’t bunnies lagomorphs?
(No, I don’t like monkeys/apes.)
Fernando Magyar says
Sarcastic Fringehead in a plastic tube!
Man, that is one cool looking fish, kinda reminds me of the Cookie Monster.
kinda reminds me of the Cookie Monster.
Kinda acts more like Oscar the Grouch, though; popping out of his trash can every once in a while to bite a rival, or a passing morsel.
Sydney S. says
As a primatologist graduate student I’m quite jealous of his opportunity. Too bad my species of choice already has a name. Looks like I’m have to beg for research money in the old fashion way. =)
As Shakespeare put it:” a rose by any other name . . . ”
Does it really matter if it’s named Sonic Hedgehog or “Little Spiny thing #2” ? It’s frivolous, you say? I say — make room for a little frivolity in your life.
Does it really matter if it’s named Sonic Hedgehog or “Little Spiny thing #2” ?
since I just made the argument that it does…
I wonder if you are actually asking me?
Ian Andreas Miller says
Yes, I agree with Gregory C. Mayer about the this blogii form. “Blogius’s Lagothrix” probably was not intended by the namer.
I would use something like Lagothrix blogensis myself.
“so, if someone decided to name a species “Lagothrix porticus” that wouldn’t be important or a problem?”
Lagothrix porticus would be a problem because porticus is a masculine from, but the Lagothrix is feminine. Lagothrix portica would be better.
“Lagothrix? My Latin sucks, but ain’t bunnies lagomorphs?
(No, I don’t like monkeys/apes.)”
It’s from lagos, “hare,” and thrix, “hair,” so this name may mean something like “hare-hair (-ed one).”
Shi-Hsia Hwa says
I love the idea of a blog monkey because I’m from Malaysia. In the USA and other strong democracies, bloggers are just observers, but in countries that don’t have full freedom of the press they’re a critical means of getting information to the public. Last year a ruling party politician called bloggers “monkeys”, but after the party lost several states in March, he and several others decided to jump on the bandwagon and start their own blogs. Needless to say, we haven’t heard any more blanket insults of bloggers from them any more.