Saturday, September 22, 2007

Name Your Own Species

Searching for new ways to raise money for environmental causes, scientists and conservationists are increasingly opting to sell naming rights to the highest bidder.
I think this is a good idea. With possibly 10 million undiscovered species out there, why not help fund their discovery and preservation by selling their names?

And with just 93 shopping days left until Christmas, what better gift can you give someone than the gift of immortality?
The elegant, invitation-only "Blue Auction," hosted by the Monaco-Asia Society and Conservation International under the patronage of Monaco's Prince Albert II, is the boldest sign yet of a novel twist in the centuries-old system for naming new species.
Check out the species that were up for auction. The auction was a success netting $2 million. The shark that walks on its fins went for $500,000 which is good, but not quite monkey good ($650,000).

If you missed the auction, don't worry you still have other options.
A German nonprofit called Biopat has tried a more systematic approach. For the past eight years, Biopat has maintained a database of plants and animals that individuals can name for a price that depends on the species. The group divides the proceeds between the institution of the scientist who found it and support for field projects in the area where it resides. It has raised nearly $514,000 so far for naming rights to about 120 species.
They have a nice selection of species names for sale, including frogs, plants, and one cool looking water mite, for 2,600€ to 3,000€. I personally like the Chilean soft coral for 4,000€ and the Brazilian Nudibranch at 5,000€. Really though, I am holding out for one of these deep sea species to become available.

Aside: I love how this Biopat website is kickin' it vintage 90's style with frames, a web counter and (my all time favorite unnecessary website feature:) a guestbook.

If you already have gifts for all your friends, what about one of your enemies? What better way to have them live in infamy than to name a malaria causing mosquito, a parasitic tapeworm or a slime mold eating beetle (well actually someone thought that last one was an honor) after them?

For those of you with more time then money, hopefully the Encyclopedia of Life will make it easy for amateurs to go discover and name their own species. A handheld species barcoder would certainly make the job easier and might be available some day soon.

And if you were wondering what the latin for Fat Knowledge is, that would be pinguis scientia. A fine name for any species if you ask me. :)

via The Washington Post

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