What do you get the person who has everything this year for Christmas?
According to Purdue University, my youngest daughter Alaina’s alma mater, the gift of immortality tops the list this year. Huh? Wait a minute … immortality? There has to be a catch, right?
It turns out that Purdue University is auctioning the naming rights to several new animal species discovered by researcher John Bickham, a Purdue professor of forestry and natural resources who specializes in genetic studies of fish and wildlife, including biodiversity and biosystematics. If you are on the receiving end of one of these gifts, your name will be Latinized and immortalized. Mere mortals though we are, we will eventually turn to dust … or pickled jelly … as planned. Only your name will be immortalized … and only in the international scientific community at that.
First up for naming is a rare relative of the little yellow bat that’s currently known as Rhogeessa tumida. Bid early … bid often.
"This provides a terrific opportunity to recognize someone who loves science and wants to be more involved in the discovery of a species in the vast world around us," says Bickham, who is donating the species naming rights to Purdue. "They would be able to join me and a Purdue team on a future scientific research expedition. Plus, the species name is forever, so you'd be immortalized in the international scientific community."
All joking aside, this novel approach to fundraising offers an excellent opportunity to make a difference. Proceeds from the naming project will be used to fund environmental research at Purdue and in the country of the new species' origin. In addition, the funds will be used to host symposia and to sponsor undergraduate and graduate student research programs. Check out Purdue’s naming initiative website for more information.
Why, I bet you could drive your loved one positively batty by naming this little winged wonder after her or him. I can just imagine the look on Kate’s face if I were to show her a photo of her new namesake. Now if it was a new David Austin Rose variety, her response would be completely different. I think I’ll stick with something conventional this year … perhaps another 100 trees I can plant in the spring.
Photos courtesy Purdue University.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.