Temporal range: Middle Ordovician
Han is a genus of agnostid trilobite, whose sole member is Han solo, a species known only from fossils found in the Ordovician Zitai Formation of southern China, and is named after the character in Star Wars.
This taxon was erected in 2005, based upon fossil material found in beds of lower Zitai Formation exposed in Maocaopu, Reshi, Taoyuan County in north Hunan, China. Fossil material include a cephalon and two pygidia. It was found to belong to family Diplagnostidae, subfamily Pseudagnostinae; it was originally thought to be most closely related to the genus Pseudorhaptagnostus, but it differed substantially from that genus in both some important diagnostic characters, and in the age of the beds in it was deposited, so a new genus was erected.
According to the original publication, the generic name Han is a reference to the Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in present-day China; and the specific epithet solo refers to the fact that the species is the youngest Diplagnostidae fossil found to that date, suggesting that it was the last surviving member of that family. However, Turvey has stated elsewhere that he named it after Han Solo because some friends dared him to name a species after a Star Wars character.
This is not the only unusual scientific name erected by Turvey; in the same paper he named a new species of Geragnostus G. waldorfstatleri, because of "the resemblance of the pygidial axis to the heads of Waldorf and Statler, two characters from The Muppet Show." The actor who portrays Han Solo in Star Wars, Harrison Ford, also has a species of spider named for him, Calponia harrisonfordi. Arachnologist Norman I. Platnick named it for him out of thanks for assistance in a museum film production. Other taxa named after Star Wars characters include the isopod Albunione yoda, the oribatid mite genus Darthvaderum, the wasps Polemistus chewbacca and Polemistus vaderi, and the beetle Agathidium vaderi.
- Samuel T. Turvey (2005). "Agnostid trilobites from the Arenig–Llanvirn of South China". Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences 95 (3–4): 527–542. doi:10.1017/S0263593304000355. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- "Etymology: Names from Fictional Characters". Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature. Retrieved February 5, 2009.