Misc.: Things Named after Scientific Names
9860 Archaeopteryx A main-belt asteroid named
after the famous fossil bird.
Arc'teryx An outdoor clothing and sporting goods
company, founded in British Columbia, Canada. Its logo is based on
the Berlin specimen of Archaeopteryx.
Ruppert Archaeopteryx A Swiss microlift
Archelon Weiland, 1896 (Cretaceous turtle)
This turtle was 15 feet long, 4500 lbs., possibly the largest chelonian
ever. In the 1966 film "One Million Years B.C.," fur-bikini-clad Raquel
Welch encounters a stop-motion giant turtle lumbering toward the sea.
She alerts her fellow tribesmen by yelling "Archelon!", the animal's
true scientific name and the only 'real' word said by any of the movie's
cast. All of the rest of the cavepeople's language was completely
aspirin German chemist Heinrich Dreser coined the
name in 1899, basing it on Spiraea (meadow-sweet), the plant
from which the medicine was extracted. The a- prefix is from
"acetylation" ("acetylierte" in German).
Balaenoptera Musculus Brand name of a radio remote control
racing boat from Syma. It is 22 inches long, somewhat smaller than
the blue whale for which it is named.
9954 Brachiosaurus A main-belt asteroid.
Charlotte A. Cavatica The heroine of E. B. White's
Charlotte's Web is named after the orb-weaver Araneus
Galax, Virginia A town in southwestern Virginia named after
an evergreen herbaceous perennial growing in the area.
Haikouella A brand of women's laptop bags,
presumably named after Haikouella Chen, Huang and Li, 1999, an
early Cambrian fossil chordate.
9941 Iguanodon A main-belt asteroid.
jinx Jynx Linnaeus, 1758 is the wryneck, a perching bird,
which was used charms and spells. The word "jinx" came to refer to
the spells, and later to any cause of misfortune.
Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) An extract of blood
cells from the horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus, used to test
for bacterial infection because it coagulates with even a trace of
Nautilus Pompilius A Soviet/Russian rock band
active between 1983-1997, named after the scientific name of the
Opabinia Films Named after a five-eyed Cambrian
Pilobolus A dance company, first performing in
1971, named after the fungus genus Pilobolus Tode
Robur the Conqueror
(French, Robur-le-Conquérant, an 1886 Jules Verne
novel) The title character gets his name from the English
oak, Quercus robur, suggesting strength.
(an American jazz fusion band) When a
club owner asked bandleader Jay Beckenstein for a name to put on a
sign, Beckenstein jokingly suggested Spirogyra
, a filamentous
green alga (a.k.a. pond scum), which he remembered from a biology
class. The name was then misspelled Spyro Gyra
strychnine (an alkaloid poison) Named for the
genus from which it is obtained. The poison was discovered in the
Asian tree Strychnos ignatii. (The genus name comes from a
Greek word for a kind of nightshade.)
Subbuteo (a British table soccer game) named after
the small bird of prey Falco subbuteo. Peter Adolph, the game's
inventer, wanted to call the game "Hobby", which is the bird's common
Sylvester the Cat (Warner Brothers cartoon
character; Tweety Bird's lisping nemesis) He might be named after
the European wildcat Felis sylvestris sylvestris.
Toronto Raptors (NBA basketball team) Its name,
influenced by the film Jurassic Park, is an informal term for
WD VelociRaptor - A Western Digital hard
Biologists routinely use scientific names in their common discourse,
usually because no other word refers to exactly the group of organism
they are studying. Several of those terms have entered general usage
(e.g. amoeba, eucalyptus, ranunculus). This section is for
particularly interesting or unexpected examples.
aphid Linnaeus coined the Modern Latin
term aphis (plural aphides) for the plant lice in 1758.
How he came up with that name is a mystery. The best guess is that it
comes from Greek apheides, "lavishly bestowed", referring
either to the insects' prodigious reproduction or their
Linnaeus also coined this name for the Madagascar
mammals, naming them after lemures
, Roman ghosts. "I call them
lemurs, because they go around mainly by night, in a certain way
similar to humans, and roam with a slow pace."
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