*Science has discovered a new parasite – a tiny parasitic flatworm that lives in turtles’ blood – and its discoverer drew inspiration for its name from President Barack Obama.
Baracktrema obamai, a two-inch-long, hair-thin creature, was discovered by Thomas Platt, a newly retired biology professor at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana who says people chosen for parasite names should consider it an honor.
In the past, he’s named them after his father-in-law, his doctorate adviser “and other people I have a great deal of respect for. This is clearly something in my small way done to honor our president.” Platt has discovered 32 new species throughout his career.
Platt says Baractrema obamai reminds him of the president: “It’s long. It’s thin. And it’s cool as hell.” Platt called the species “phenomenally incredibly resilient organisms.”
“I hold them in awe and with phenomenal respect,” Platt says.
A distant relative of the president, Platt says people pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of having a species named after them.
Obama already has a spider, a fish and even an extinct dinosaur named after him.