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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Newly Discovered Species Of Extinct Lizard Named After President Obama In His Honor!

Why I believe that Obama would feel honored to have a scientific discovery named after him, since he supports science education in our public schools and supports the teaching of evolution.

Here is an article from a Science newsletter that I get in my E-mail subscriptions.


Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs
also wiped out the 'Obamadon'
by Staff Writers
New Haven CT (SPX) Dec 12, 2012

The asteroid collision widely thought to have killed the dinosaurs also led to extreme devastation among snake and lizard species, according to new research - including the extinction of a newly identified lizard species Yale and Harvard scientists have named Obamadon gracilis. "The asteroid event is typically thought of as affecting the dinosaurs primarily," said Nicholas R. Longrich, a postdoctoral associate with Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics and lead author of the study.

Illustration only.

"But it basically cut this broad swath across the entire ecosystem, taking out everything. Snakes and lizards were hit extremely hard." The study was scheduled for online publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Earlier studies have suggested that some snake and lizard species (as well as many mammals, birds, insects and plants) became extinct after the asteroid struck the earth 65.5 million years ago, on the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula.

But the new research argues that the collision's consequences were far more serious for snakes and lizards than previously understood.

As many as 83 percent of all snake and lizard species died off, the researchers said - and the bigger the creature, the more likely it was to become extinct, with no species larger than one pound surviving.

The results are based on a detailed examination of previously collected snake and lizard fossils covering a territory in western North America stretching from New Mexico in the southwestern United States to Alberta, Canada. The authors examined 21 previously known species and also identified nine new lizards and snakes.

They found that a remarkable range of reptile species lived in the last days of the dinosaurs. Some were tiny lizards. One snake was the size of a boa constrictor, large enough to take the eggs and young of many dinosaur species.

Iguana-like plant-eating lizards inhabited the southwest, while carnivorous lizards hunted through the swamps and flood plains of what is now Montana, some of them up to six feet long.

"Lizards and snakes rivaled the dinosaurs in terms of diversity, making it just as much an 'Age of Lizards' as an 'Age of Dinosaurs,'" Longrich said.

The scientists then conducted a detailed analysis of the relationships of these reptiles, showing that many represented archaic lizard and snake families that disappeared at the end of the Cretaceous, following the asteroid strike.

One of the most diverse lizard branches wiped out was the Polyglyphanodontia. This broad category of lizards included up to 40 percent of all lizards then living in North America, according to the researchers. In reassessing previously collected fossils, they came across an unnamed species and called it Obamadon gracilis. In Latin, odon means "tooth" and gracilis means "slender."

"It is a small polyglyphanodontian distinguished by tall, slender teeth with large central cusps separated from small accessory cusps by lingual grooves," the researchers write of Obamadon, which is known primarily from the jaw bones of two specimens. Longrich said the creature likely measured less than one foot long and probably ate insects.

He said no one should impute any political significance to the decision to name the extinct lizard after the recently re-elected U.S. president: "We're just having fun with taxonomy."

The mass (but not total) extinction of snakes and lizards paved the way for the evolution and diversification of the survivors by eliminating competitors, the researchers said. There are about 9,000 species of lizard and snake alive today.

"They didn't win because they were better adapted, they basically won by default, because all their competitors were eliminated," Longrich said.

Co-author Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar, a doctoral student in organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, said "One of the most important innovations in this work is that we were able to precisely reconstruct the relationships of extinct reptiles from very fragmentary jaw material."

This had tacitly been thought impossible for creatures other than mammals. Our study then becomes the pilot for a wave of inquiry using neglected fossils and underscores the importance of museums like the Yale Peabody as archives of primary data on evolution - data that yield richer insights with each new era of scientific investigation.

Jacques A. Gauthier, professor of geology and geophysics at Yale and curator of vertebrate paleontology and vertebrate zoology, is also an author. The paper is titled "Mass Extinction of Lizards and Snakes at the Cretaceous Paleogene Boundary." The National Science Foundation and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies supported the research.

WOW! I think this is really cool!!!

Of course, this is not to imply an intentional naming of an extinct species of a small lizard after our President.

As mentioned in the article:

". . . no one should impute any political significance to the decision to name the extinct lizard after the recently re-elected U.S. president: "We're just having fun with taxonomy."

Taxonomy is merely a method of arranging things by groups or sets or sub-sets, etc. etc.


Taxonomy (from ancient Greek taxis, arrangement, and nomia, method) is the academic discipline of defining groups of biological organisms on the basis of shared characteristics and giving names to those groups. Each group is given a rank and groups of a given rank can be aggregated to form a super group of higher rank and thus create a hierarchical classification. The groups created through this process are referred to as taxa (singular taxon). An example of a modern classification is the one published in 2009 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group for all living flowering plant families (the APG III system).

So, Taxonomy is a way of classifying plant and animal species, and some species might be named after the region where they were discovered, or by the people who discovered them, or just simply named after famous people.

In Astronomy, for example: comets and asteroids are usually named after the person who first discovers them.

Well, I believe that Obama would feel honored to have a newly discovered extinct species of reptile named after him.

I know I would!

Anyway . . . . .

Here's some more!


Toothy prehistoric lizard 
named Obamadon after 
smiling president

Posted: December 13, 2012 in agathidium bushi, agathidium cheneyi, agathidium rumsfeldi, Al Gore, Beyonce, Bill Clinton, Bob Marley, Cretaceous peri, Dick Cheney, Dinosaur, Donald Rumsfeld, freshwater perch, George Bush, ground sloth, Harvard University, Hugh Hefner, Jimmy Carter, Leptochamops denticulatus, marsh rabbit, Megalonyxx jeffersonii, Montana, Nature, New Species, Nick Longrich, Obama, Obamadon, Obamadon gracilis, paleontologist, Playboy magazine, prehistoric lizard, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, slime-mold beetles, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Yale University

Researchers have named a newly discovered, prehistoric lizard “Obamadon gracilis” in honor of the 44th president’s toothy grin.

The small, insect-eating lizard was first discovered in eastern Montana in 1974, but a recent re-examination showed the fossil had been wrongly classified as a Leptochamops denticulatus and was in fact a new species, researchers told Reuters on Tuesday.

Obamadon gracilis was one of nine newly discovered species reported on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In naming the new species, scientists from Yale and Harvard universities combined the Latin “Obamadon” for “Obama’s teeth” and “gracilis,” which means slender.

“The lizard has these very tall, straight teeth and Obama has these tall, straight incisors and a great smile,” said Nick Longrich, a paleontologist at the school in New Haven, Connecticut.

It was believed to have lived during the Cretaceous period, which began 145.5 million years ago. Along with many dinosaurs from that era, the lizard died out about 65 million years ago when a giant asteroid struck earth, scientists say.

Longrich said he waited until after the recent U.S. election to name the lizard.

“It would look like we were kicking him when he’s down if he lost and we named this extinct lizard after him,” he said in an interview.

“Romneydon” was never under consideration and “Clintondon” didn’t sound good, said Longrich, who supported Hillary Clinton’s failed run against Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.

Obama is not the first politician whose name has been used to help classify organisms. Megalonyxx jeffersonii, an extinct species of plant-eating ground sloth, was named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, an amateur paleontologist who studied the mammal.

Earlier this year, researchers announced they had named five newly identified species of freshwater perch after Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter and Theodore Roosevelt.

In 2005, entomologists named three species of North American slime-mold beetles agathidium bushi, agathidium cheneyi and agathidium rumsfeldi in honor of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld – the U.S. president, vice president and secretary of defense at the time.

Other celebrity names also have been used to name new species. A small Caribbean crustacean has been named after reggae icon Bob Marley, an Australian horsefly has been named in honor of hip-hop star Beyonce, and an endangered species of marsh rabbit has been named after Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.

Now, if Romney had won this 2012 election, and if a newly discovered species of extinct reptile were named after him, Romneydon gracilis, or something like that, I'm sure he would be deeply offended.

Like, how dare they! How dare they name named an extinct reptile after me, and then, say that it became extinct 65 million years ago when the Bible says the earth is only 6000 years old!


And then, he would have the scientists arrested, and cut all government funding for science!

Yeah! Uh huh! Fuck Romney!

Or perhaps he would be jealous because nothing was named after him. Hell, even President Bush has something named after him, but it's a species of slime mold beetle!

But sorry, Mitt Romney! You're actually worse than Bush ever thought of being, so you don't get shit name after you, except shit, you know, as in taking a shit, or taking a dump!

I would call it taking a Romney!

Not only that, but after that retarded little escapade during the Republican National Convention when Clint Eastwood was talking to an empty chair on stage, and pretending it was Obama, from now on, when ever I have to use the bathroom, I shall call it, sitting on the Romney!

There, Romney you fuck-tard!

I named a toilet after you!

So, suck on that!

Anyway . . . . . . .

I'm so glad that Obama won the 2012 Presidential re-election instead.

And he got a cute little prehistoric lizard named after him in his honor.

Now, I think that's really cool!!!

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