20 August 2008

Want to discover a new species? Try eBay

According to the BBC a scientist who bought a fossilised insect on the web auction site eBay for £20 has discovered that it belongs to a previously unknown species of aphid.


Dr Richard Harrington, vice-president of the UK's Royal Entomological Society, bought the fossil from an individual in Lithuania. He then sent it off to an aphid expert in Denmark, who confirmed the insect was a new species, now extinct. The bug has been named Mindarus harringtoni. "I looked at it with my team and we thought we could identify it down to the level of genus, but we had no idea what the species was." He said.Dr Harrington sent the specimen to Professor Ole Heie, a fossil aphid expert in Denmark. "He discovered that it was something that hadn't been described before,"


The insect itself is 3-4mm long and is encased in a 40-50 million-year-old piece of amber about the size of a small pill. "I had thought it would be rather nice to call it Mindarus ebayi, Unfortunately using flippant names to describe new species is rather frowned upon these days." said Dr Harrington


Well if eBay will sell people’s lives and virginities I suppose an undiscovered species is pretty mundane....

10 comments:

CherryPie said...

Seems you can find just about everything on the internet these days!

jams o donnell said...

Indeed Cherie!

TorAa said...

When I'm back from our summerhome, I will read your fascinatin blog. Not only WW etc.

can you pls help me to broadcast my simple message from this WW (late but - well after soem days with high late summer fever) it's important for me - I think for you as well

hugs
Tor
Norway

TorAa said...

When I'm back from our summerhome, I will read your fascinatin blog. Not only WW etc.

can you pls help me to broadcast my simple message from this WW (late but - well after soem days with high late summer fever) it's important for me - I think for you as well

hugs
Tor
Norway

jams o donnell said...

It's an excellent idea Tor

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Jams.

An interesting way of doing research. Might start a trend.

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

The old Lithuanian fossil trick, eh?

jams o donnell said...

Could be.. I'll have to see if anyone is selling dinosaur bones Aileni

I know what you mean James.. you go to buy an insect in amber only to find that some bastards only gone and given you a new bloody speices,, they get you every time!

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I'd name it Aphid Avit. But I'm legally punny that way.

jams o donnell said...

Aphid Avit.. Doh it took me a whie for that one to sink in ewbl! Good one