Scientists Are Trying To Find The Stupidest Animal Name, And The Search Is Hysterical

"Because shut up"

If your Twitter feed doesn't contain many scientists, you are missing out. Over the summer, scientists from a variety of disciplines have been coming together to turn 140 characters into pure comedy gold. 

First, #DistractinglySexy celebrated the less-than-glamorous jobs female scientists have, as a retort to sexist comments made by Nobel laureate Tim Hunt. #FieldWorkFail allowed them to trade battle stories of hilarious misadventures. #JunkOff turned into a search for the most impressive penis in the animal kingdom. Next, #CuteOff made everyone squee and turn into mush by searching for the cutest animal on Earth.

David Shiffman, a marine biologist who studies sharks at the University of Miami, decided to keep the good times rolling by introducing #StupidCommonNames.

While the scientific name of a species generally makes sense and describes what the animal is (or pays tribute to an important person), #StupidCommonNames is a collective digital eyeroll of the titles of animals that don't actually make much sense, given what they really are. 


1. Shiffman obviously put his best foot forward by starting the game with sharks.

2. It does kind of look like a pinecone, at least...

3. What's wrong with a slug being a goddess? Why do gods have to be human-shaped?

4. That is slightly problematic...

5. Yeah, but "The Abominable Decapod" isn't as catchy.

6. How does one banana in the first place?

7. It still looks completely terrifying, either way.

8. What else has Looney Tunes lied to us about?

9. Also known as sand fleas, these guys have terrible common names.

10. The dedication to this level of wrongness is actually admirable.

11. We don't know who first called this fish that, but they were probably hilarious and awesome.

12. Sarcastic? He looks like he really means business.

13. Is that all it takes to rule a whole family of fish?

14. Gardener snake is a regional phrase, but either name is just a catchall term for "this snake won't kill you."

15. The Family name is Mantispidae. What's up with that?

16. Makes perfect sense! Kind of. Actually, no.

17. There are no words.

18. Suddenly not hungry anymore.

19. Apparently 'bass fishing' is the most open-minded type of fishing.

20. Of course, some were WAY ahead of this trend and have been cursing #StupidCommonNames for years.

Which names were most surprising for you? Which others would you have put on the list? Let us know in the comments!

Want to be the first to know about the next awesome science trend on Twitter? Follow David Shiffman and the other scientists in this list to stay in the know!

[Header image via: Melissa C. Márquez]


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