Are you an Asinus Petasatus? Then you'll love this...
May 18, 2004 1:42 AM   Subscribe

Arsole? Putrescine? Dickite? Moronic Acid? This list of Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names (one NSFW image) proves that scientists can be funny, as does this Stuffy Scientists page, and Mark Isaak's terribly thorough Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature (see, especially, Puns). If you are tempted to wonder what the Father of Taxonomy might have thought of the irreverence of those last two collections, keep in mind that Linnaeus himself named this plant "Clitoria Mariana" in honor of an 'acquaintance', according to this page.
posted by taz (10 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Molecular biologists can have fun too.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:59 AM on May 18, 2004

I thought that the mineral 'cummingtonite' was quite saucy - but it's named after a place called Cummington. Ooo-err, Missus!!!
posted by dash_slot- at 4:00 AM on May 18, 2004

"Clitoria Mariana" - well you can see where the guy was coming from (if you'll excuse the unavoidable pun).
posted by twine42 at 5:29 AM on May 18, 2004

This page has a more prosaic explanation, that "the genus is thought to take its name from kleio, to shut up, in reference to the habit these peas have of seeding long before the flower drops off". But this was written in 1900, and may just be a bit of Victorian prudery.
posted by verstegan at 7:24 AM on May 18, 2004

I still like how fruit fly genetecists name genes. The one that comes to mind quickly is Sonic The Hedgehog, though I have faint memories of other oddball names.
posted by FullFrontalNerdity at 7:40 AM on May 18, 2004

I like the thagomizer.
posted by joaquim at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2004

"Sonic Hedgehog" is mentioned on the Gene Names section of the Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature Site, FullFrontalNerdity, but I have something just for you: the Clever gene names site. You'll find Drosophila as the first link under "Names" in the list on the left (which, unfortunately, is in blue text on a blue background).
posted by taz at 12:23 PM on May 18, 2004

dash-slot: "cummingtonite"! it took me a minute to get that one! D'oh.
posted by taz at 12:25 PM on May 18, 2004

MetaFilter's contribution to the list would have to be fuckwitol -- now all we need to do is discover a molecule to name.
posted by me3dia at 2:12 PM on May 18, 2004

Well, I'm a little disappointed that nobody caught my nice MetaFilteresque species in the page title...
posted by taz at 8:43 PM on May 18, 2004

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