Strange but true -- a newly discovered amphibian in Panama has been named for Donald Trump. And, for those of you who are wondering, it is not an act of admiration or appreciation. It is quite the opposite actually. The snake-like creature is blind and when it is scared it sticks its head into the sand. It is not scientists making a statement about the 45th president of the United States either. There is more to this story.
Most species discovered and scientifically described are named for the scientists' family, friends, and others that they want to honor. Sometimes the name comes from the place the animal was discovered. Other times it is based on a distinguishing feature of the creature.
These days there is a chance for anyone to do the naming of a newly discovered species. Recently the naming rights for 12 species were auctioned off to raise money for the Rainforest Trust. The organization buys and protects threatened rainforests around the world. All 12 of these species were discovered on their reserves.
The auction raised $182,000 -- enough to buy and protect another 70,000 acres of at risk species. This includes Dermophis donaldtrumpi. Aidan Bell, who owns a sustainable building materials company, bid a winning $25,000 to be able to express his political contempt. Bell blogged that the creatures ". . . have rudimentary eyes which can only detect light or dark. Capable of seeing the world only in black and white, Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.
The Trust first started the idea of raising funds by auctioning off naming rights of new species 25 years ago when it raised $75,000 for the naming of a songbird. The money allowed them to purchase land in Colombia that is being threatened by coca farming.
More naming rights are bound to come up as scientists continue their work in the rainforests. So start saving. You could name the next species after your dog or cat.
Source and Images: IFL Science