Field of Science

Taxonomic tidbit: parabasalids and strippers

Sometimes the taxonomist's character lies concealed in the etymology of a new taxon name:

"The arrangement of the long cilia, clothing the body, reminded him of the nymphs in a recent spectacular drama, in which they appeared with their nakedness barely concealed by long cords suspended from the shoulders, and this arrangement has suggested the name applied to the parasite." Leidy 1877 Proc Acad Nat Sci Philadelphia (h/t PJK)

So yes, Trichonympha (third from left in the blog header), reminded some proper Victorian scientist of his latest stripper experience. And this is why it sometimes pays to read the original taxonomic descriptions.

Also, apparently it wasn't too weird for the author to refer to himself in third person back then...

1 comment:

  1. The dirty old devil!
    Say what you want about the Victorian age, I sincerely doubt a similar statement would be allowed to go to press in the academic journals of today!


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS