Over the years, when new species are found, another star or planet is realized, or when someone invents something never before seen or heard of, the common practice has been to name them after someone. Sometimes it’s meant to show love and affection, say when you call a new star after your child or spouse.
Take the naming of the “teddy bear,” after former U.S. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, for example. The term began while on a hunting trip in Mississippi, where the president had been unable to find a single bear. His hosts, not wanting him to leave without having accomplished his goal, found one and tied it up for him to shoot.
However, Teddy couldn’t shoot it in such a state, claiming that it wasn’t fair to the bear and very unsportsmanlike. And so, his softness and empathy towards the bear were carried over into a child’s toy that will forever lend itself to the great legacy and honor of his name and character.
In contrast, naming something particularly nasty, ugly, or generally despised, such as a new species of vermin or snake, after someone usually has quite the opposite effect, even if it is not meant in that way.
And isn’t it so fitting that this was recently done to none other than our current president, Joe Biden?
So what was just named after him?
Well, according to The New York Post, a paleontologist, Christopher Whalen, just named what is believed to be a prehistoric and now fossilized vampire squid after Biden. Yep, you read that correctly. It’s a squid, which can be rather neat but is generally given an immediate reaction of “eww,” but it’s also a vampire, as in it sucks blood.
Enter Syllipsimopedi bideni.
The fossilized creature was originally found in the earth in Montana, which is believed to have once been a tropical marine bay some 328 million or so years ago if you believe in carbon dating. As The New York Times reported, “When an ancient octopus died in these waters, its soft, squishy body was buried and pristinely fossilized.”
However, what’s even more astounding and rather apt for such a man as Biden, is that when it was found, it was quite literally put in a drawer and nearly forgotten completely, as it seemed to be something science had seen and documented many times before. Only later was it discovered that it could be something far more rare and creepy.
As the Times tells it, the fossilized creature was donated to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada in 1988, where it was put in a drawer due to the thought that it was just another cephalopod or common squid. It sat in that drawer for decades before Whalen decided to get it out and have a look at it.
What he noticed under a microscope was that, unlike most other cephalopods, this one has what appears to be small suckers on its arms, which signified that it might be a vampyropod or vampire squid. In fact, after more studies, Whalen and his colleagues have concluded that this is the earliest known ancestor of the vampire squids we know today.
Of course, that conclusion is still up for debate.
According to others in the field, such as paleontologist Christian Klug of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, “It’s the exact same size, the exact same age, the exact same locality, the exact same proportions” as more common cephalopods knowns as Gordoniconus beargulchensis. The only difference between the two, according to Klug, is that they are “just preserved a little bit differently.”
In any case, the situation has offered us a rather comical story. I mean, just listen to this concluding paragraph from The Times.
“The suckers may be a small part of S. bideni’s story but Dr. Whalen is indebted to them. ‘This was sitting in a museum since the ‘80s, and no one realized it was important. We chanced on that importance because I happened to notice the arm suckers.”
So Biden would have likely been forgotten to history had not the bloodsuckers been noticed…
It doesn’t get much better than that for a presidential slight, whether intentional or not.