A group of scientists who discovered a new flatworm parasite species decided to name the animal after President Barak Obama. The question on everybody’s lips is: “Is this a new scientific addition bearing the name of the president an homage or a form of mockery?”
The Baracktrema obamai is usually found in the lungs of turtles. The flatworm is a parasite that affects the health of the animal, causing difficulty while breathing and, if left untreated, death.
While the idea of having a species bear your name inspires grandeur, the fact that the scientists who made the discovery decided to name a parasitic worm that is probably causing the extinction of two species of freshwater turtles after President Obama raised some suspicions.
However, when asked about the naming choice, Thomas Platt declared that he decided to name the newly discovered flatworm parasite species after his second cousin twice removed because of the great admiration that the scientist bears him.
It seems that the Baracktrema obamai is a resilient little guy. Apart from its slim, elongated figure, the worm managed to awe the researchers with its capacity of withstanding harsh conditions and surviving against all the odds.
What is even more impressive is the fact that the Baracktrema obamai is not only a new species of flatworm parasites but a new genus which is a higher level of biological classification.
During his career, Platt managed to discover over 30 species of parasitical creatures. All of them were named after individuals that Platt respects deeply. Apart from President Obama, both his doctoral advisor and his father-in-law were honored by sharing their name with the new species discovered by the researcher.
This is not the first species that bears the name of President Barak Obama. In 2012, another group of researchers discovered yet another new species of parasites in Kenya, near the place in which Obama’s father was born. This is how the Paragordius obamai was born.
Other larger organisms also share a name with the Democrat. A spider, the Aptostichus barackobamai, a species of extinct lizard, the Obamadon gracilis, and a darter fish, the Etheostoma Obama were all named after President Obama.
Each time a new species bearing his name was added to the catalog, Obama declared that he felt honored to be a source of inspiration for researchers.
Image source: Wikipedia
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