New species discovered on eBay
This is from almost a month ago but I didn't find it on RRS and it is kind of interesting so....
POSTED: Thursday, August 21, 2008 FROM BLOG: Science Buzz - Some time today, you might hear or read a news story related to questions, discoveries, or claims made by scientists. Science Buzz lets you dig deeper into these science headlines.
Aphid in amber: The new species is trapped inside fossilized tree sap.
Courtesy Rothamsted Research Visual Communications UnitA British man purchased an item on eBay that has proven to be a species not seen before. No, it’s not a new species of toast sporting the image of some religious or political icon, but rather a new species of fossil aphid encased in a 40 to 50 million year-old piece of amber.
The purchase took place last year from a seller in Lithuania, and was only made public this week. The lucky buyer was Dr Richard Harrington, vice-president of the UK's Royal Entomological Society. The small chunk of amber was a bargain, too - only £20 (about $36).
I guess this isn’t the first time this kind of thing has happened. Just two years ago, a previously unknown species of sea urchin was acquired on eBay.
In this recent case, Dr. Harrington sent the fossil to Professor Ole Heie, a fossil aphid expert in Denmark, and was delighted to learn his new acquisition was an unknown extinct species.
Harrington wanted to name the new species Mindarus ebayi in honor of the online auction site. Unfortunately, it seems the scientific community has no sense of humor in regards to frivolous nomenclature, unless it involves a favorite rock musician. So instead, the newly described aphid was named Mindarus harringtoni in Harrington’s honor. Gee, I hope he isn’t too bummed out about that. Go here to see a photo of the buyer with his prized fossil bug.
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