Thompson had snapped up the last gazelle,
Melville had bagged him a whale.
Attenborough had almost half of a zoo,
Steve Irvine had all of a snail.
John Cleese got a furry young lemur,
Doc Salmon, herself, got a germ.
There are hundreds of folk got a beetle,
The Beatles, themselves got a worm
Nomenclature becomes daily harder –
A wasp was the option for Muse –
But when Kirk had accepted his Dik-Dik
There can’t have been much left to choose.
I’m always intrigued about the business of having things named after you. First it was animals, then insects, then bacteria and parasites. Why? I guess it was ok in the past, when you got an antelope or a whale, but now everybody seems to get an invertebrate of some kind. I never even dreamt that there were so many types of wasp** (although I will dream about the little buggers now). Nobody cares about the name of something that has just stung them: they care about squashing the blighter. And let’s face it, nobody wants a disease named after them. Just ask Mr & Mrs Covid from number 19.
Now it is planets and stars and I start to understand. Sooner or later, we are going to discover life out there and the odds are, I suppose, about 50/50 who is going to be hunting whom. If they turn out to be the hunters, I guess it must offer some kind of protection to be able to say, ‘Did you know, by the way, that your planet is named after me? Yes, honestly, I am Derek…’
**I do like the fact that Greta Garbo has a solitary wasp named after her.