Political Animals: Species Named For President Obama

Obamadon – Obamadon Gracilis

(images via: Above Top Secret and ZOO-FM 107.5)

Some moss, a minnow, meh… if you’re Barack Obama, you might be feeling a wee bit peeved that the so-called honor of having a species (or two) named for you isn’t reflected in a more respectable creature. Fear not, Mr. Prez, science comes to the rescue with… OBAMADON!

(image via: Examiner.com)

Obamadon gracilis to be exact, with the secondary half of the name “in reference to the tall, straight teeth, and the manner in which Mr. Obama has acted as a role model of good oral hygiene for the world.” Wait, what? “We’re just having fun with taxonomy,” said Longrich, who discovered Obamadon fossils while working in northwestern Montana with a team of scientists from Yale and Harvard.

(images via: Debate Politics, Newser and Webicon.me)

In early December of 2012, a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Nicholas R. Longrich of Yale University described “a small polyglyphanodontian distinguished by tall, slender teeth with large central cusps separated from small accessory cusps by lingual grooves.” These distinct teeth tell paleontologists that the creature was in most likelihood an insect eater. Not exactly T Rex but light years ahead of some orange fungus.

(images via: NewsMe, El Universal Ciencia and Examiner)

Obamadon gracilis does have a few connections with the king of the tyrant lizards, however, not least of which being that it was a lizard and it went extinct along with its MUCH larger relatives at the end of the cretaceous period about 65 million years ago. Heck, it may have even been eaten by T Rex – though considering Obamadon was under a foot long it’s more likely it ended up under a T Rex’s foot by accident.

Trapdoor Spider – Aptostichus Barackobamai

(images via: ECU and Sam Ruby)

The name’s Bond… Jason Bond, a researcher from the Auburn University Museum of Natural History and an expert in the field of Trapdoor Spiders. These wee beasties are just as cool as they sound, crafting snug plugs for their burrows from local debris bound with spider silk. When Bond began looking for new species of spiders in 2012 he knew just where to look – the deserts of eastern California – and he wasn’t disappointed.

(image via: WIRED)

Bond didn’t just find one new species of Trapdoor Spider, he hit the motherlode with an amazing 33, all from the genus Aptostichus. His next task was to contrive names for his discoveries, and President Barack Obama was high on his list since the country’s Commander in Chief just happens to be a fan of Spiderman comics.

(images via: News Grio and Haber)

Bond also honored other well-known persons by naming some of the new spider species after them: A. angelinajoleae and A. stephencolberti both date from a previous successful spider search back in 2008. “This particular group of trapdoor spiders are among some of the most beautiful with which I have worked;” stated Bond, “species often have gorgeous tiger-striping on their abdomens.” Sez the Prez, “no comment.”

(images via: Best View In Brooklyn, Daily Speculations and About.com/Political Humor)

Trapdoor spiders belong to the same suborder as tarantulas but are much smaller – most can cover a 25-cent coin if they stretch their legs a bit. They also exhibit sexual dimorphism with females generally being chubbier than males. The females also live longer; up to 30 years compared to a mere 5 to 7 years for males. “They’re sort of ambush predators,” explains Bond. “They wait at burrow entrances at night, until some dull-witted insect comes over. Then they jump out, bite it, and take it to their burrow.” We think that just about makes up for the moss, minnow and dead-end lizard don’t you?



(image via: DeviantArt/Flaming-Fish)

He’s only halfway through his allotted two terms in the White House and already Barack Obama is tied with Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt for the most namesake species: four. The odds are pretty good that Obama’s name may be bestowed upon at least one yet-to-be-discovered fungus, plant or animal… let’s just hope it’s not a lame duck.