The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, May 27, 2015


"What would you name a new worm?" asks UK museum
The unnamed worms are known as annelids, a group that also includes the familiar garden earthworm, as well as more unusual critters such as the giant hydrothermal vent tubeworm. ©Natural History Museum.

By: Alice Baghdjian

LONDON (REUTERS).- What name would you give to a species of Antarctic, sea-dwelling worm that spends its time 2,000 metres below the water's surface, wriggling in the rotting carcasses of whales? The British public will get to name five newly discovered species of this deep-sea worm, the Natural History Museum in London said on Friday, as it opens its doors to explain that taxonomy -- the practice of naming new species -- is not taxing, but fun.

"Our goal is to show that taxonomy, the scientific discipline of naming new species, is interesting, fun and crucial to the advancement of science," zoologist at the National History Museum, Adrian Glover, said.

The unnamed worms are known as annelids, a group that also includes the familiar garden earthworm, as well as more unusual critters such as the giant hydrothermal vent tubeworm.

Deep sea annelids are an incredibly diverse group and scientists believe they perform vital recycling of nutrients on the seabed.

"These five species of worm are ecosystem engineers that hoover up the ocean floor, which is very important for the ecosystem. We know virtually nothing about these worms -- they don't even have a name yet," Glover told Reuters.

The scientific names given to animals must be comprised of two parts -- the genus and the species -- and must have a Greek or Latin origin.

The genus for these five worms is Ophryotrocha, and scientists will ask visitors to the museum's event, "Science Uncovered," to examine the specimens and come up with a name for each species.

Taxonomists often consider the shape, pattern, or location of origin of a creature when deciding on a suitable name.

The worms waiting for names were discovered in a variety of marine habitats, including volcanic vents on the seafloor and even rotting carcasses of dead whales -- sources of nutrients in a vast underwater environment where food is scarce.

"The names don't have to be serious, but they have to be the unique. Although the genus is fixed, you can be a bit more imaginative with the species," Glover said.

"For example, we discovered a group of worms in the Pacific Ocean that, when grouped together, looked like the Greek, shaggy pile carpets you can buy in IKEA, so we named it "flokati,"" he said.

Some scientists have even looked to showbusiness for inspiration in naming new species.

Calponia harrisonfordi is a type of spider named after Harrison Ford, to thank the Hollywood actor for narrating a documentary for London's National History Museum.

Musician Frank Zappa also has a spider named after him, Pachygnatha zappa, because its unique markings resemble his famous mustache.

However, the importance of classifying the worms is not to be laughed at -- taxonomy plays a fundamental role in scientific research.

"Taxonomy gives names to new species linked to actual specimens held in museums, which means we can continue to develop the database of biodiversity on Earth," Glover said.

"It provides a link between species, so biologists can communicate and know they are working on the same animals," he said.

"There are strict rules to taxonomy, and we want to explain how it happens and how we link it to specimens in museums. What is crucial is that the name is unique and backed up by data, such as DNA sequences, fundamental descriptions and specimens," he said.

The London National History Museum collection alone contains roughly 70 million specimens, many of which are smaller animals such as worms, Glover said.

With scientists yet to discover about 90 percent of the estimated 9 million plant and animal species on earth, according to a recent study, this collection of jarred curiosities can only increase with future exploration of the deep seas.

"We don't even know what's down there, let alone what role it plays in the ecosystem," Glover said.

"Exploration of the deep sea is akin to what rainforests were to scientists about 200 years ago, where they discovered lots of new species every day," he said.

"And the first step to take when you find new species is naming them."

The free event, "Science Uncovered," takes place on Friday, Sept 23 from 4-11pm.

Suggestions for naming the worms can also be sent via twitter to @NHM_London, using the hashtags #nameaworm and #SU2011.

(Edited by Paul Casciato)

© Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.

worm | UK museums |




Today's News

September 24, 2011

Copyrights and images from Marilyn Monroe's first photo shoot to be auctioned

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Turkish Republic reach agreement for transfer of top half of Weary Herakles

The Morgan Library & Museum holds major exhibition this fall celebrating the birth of Charles Dickens

Richard Serra: Two new sculptures, Junction and Cycle, on view at the Gagosian Gallery

Works by world's preeminent contemporary artists sold at Christie's New York to benefit Artists for Haiti

"Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers up for sale at California auction house Profiles in History

Focused survey of installation art by Sanford Biggers at the Brooklyn Museum

Seeing Stars: Visionary Drawing from the collection on view at the Menil Collection

Sotheby's London to offer important newly discovered and unseen early photographs by Linnaeus

Arco Gallerywalk, new idea from Arco Art Fair to boost visits to art galleries in Madrid

Large scale steel sculptures by Jonathan Prince at The Sculpture Garden at 590 Madison Avenue

First solo show in Mexico by Darío Villalba at Luis Adelantado Gallery in Mexico City

Longtime Michener Director/CEO Bruce Katsiff announces plan to step down

De Hallen Haarlem presents an international group exhibition centering on an artwork by Louise Bourgeois

"What would you name a new worm?" asks UK museum

Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby: Ascent on view at Haunch of Venison in London

The Rencontres D'Arles: Photography festival 2011 breaks attendance record

The Whitney announces team for second volume devoted to Warhol's films

Looters plunder $8.5M from Ivory Coast museum

Poland receives 2 stolen paintings seized in New York

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Sotheby's to sell one of Vilhelm Hammershøi's most beguiling interiors: 'Interior, Strandgade 30'

2.- German police find Hitler's lost horse sculptures that vanished the year Berlin Wall fell

3.- New Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education appointed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

4.- Chrysler Museum mourns passing of Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Amy Brandt

5.- How Iraqi friar Najeeb Michaeel saved ancient Christian manuscripts from Islamic State

6.- Anish Kapoor sculpture 'Blood Mirror' surprises with surface and sound effects

7.- Sotheby's to offer the first painting to be sold from Cornelius Gurlitt's trove of art

8.- Descendants of art collector Peggy Guggenheim go head to head in a French appeals court

9.- Vandalized statues from parks, gardens and public spaces restored at Argentine 'hospital'

10.- Unique 17th century portrait by British artist Mary Beale discovered at McMaster Museum of Art

Related Stories



UK museums to benefit as Art Fund announces details of schemes worth 1 million to boost collections



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Social Network Manager and Translator: Norma Cristina Pérez Ayala Cano
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site