Wikipedia:Unusual articles/Science

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Archaeoacoustics Can ancient pottery be used to play back recorded voices from the distant past?
Ota Benga The tragic story of a Pygmy man from the Belgian Congo who was briefly exhibited in the Bronx Zoo.
Buttered toast phenomenon But only if you're eating at a table.
Buttered cat paradox If a cat always lands on its feet and toast always lands buttered-side-down, what if...?
Vladimir Demikhov Eminent Soviet biologist and father of the canine head transplant.
Natasha Demkina Russian girl who claims to have X-ray vision.
Drake's Plate of Brass A forgery-related practical joke that went horribly awry.
Elvis taxon A taxon (species, genus, family, etc.) that is believed to be extinct but is falsely claimed by someone to still exist.
Further research is needed Some journals have banned this infuriating and redundant cliché. Some researchers are researching its effects, but FRIN...
Lazarus taxon Leaping Lazarus! Somewhat like Monty Python's Dead Parrot, it's not really dead, it's just resting.
List of Ig Nobel Prize winners Nobel Prize meets Weird Science. Result: Award-winning papers like "Injuries Due to Falling Coconuts" and "Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans".
'Pataphysics A parody of science that purports to study what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics.
Pathological science A pejorative term for scientific ideas that will simply not "go away", long after they are given up on as wrong by the majority of scientists in the field.
Project Steve A wildly successful list of scientists in which all signatories (1) support evolution, (2) oppose intelligent design, and (3) are named Steve or a variation of that name (Steven, Stephan, Stephanie, etc.).
Raven paradox First, you'll grant that all ravens are black, yes...?
Sokal affair Physicist Alan Sokal demonstrates that at least some postmodernists can't see an emperor with no clothes.
"Women are wonderful" effect A phenomenon found in psychological and sociological research which suggests that people associate more positive attributes with the general social category of women compared to men.


This blue-looking noise is actually pink.
"Shit! It's Professor Pauli! Quick, pack that stuff away!"
Colors of noise Including white, pink, purple, blue...
David Hahn A 17-year-old, known as the Radioactive Boy Scout, who irradiated his back yard attempting to build a nuclear breeder reactor from spare parts.
Demon core A two-time radioactive killer.
Fictional elements, isotopes and atomic particles Not actual periodic elements. Many end in '-ite'. Some of the elements may indeed be minerals.
Flying ice cube They happen to live inside the computers of scientists trying to simulate molecules.
The Hum A phenomenon involving a persistent and invasive low-frequency noise of a humming character and unknown origin, not audible to all people, reported in various geographical locations.
List of unusual units of measurement Fortnights and nibbles, super feet and Sagans.
Magic smoke An alternative theory of integrated circuits: once the smoke is released they no longer work.
Oh-My-God particle Proof that physicists have a dramatic flair.
Pauli effect Something in the lab not working? Technical difficulties? Blame this guy.
Quantum suicide and immortality An infinite number of parallel universes means that any one person will always live forever.
Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube What happens when you blow in a hole in a tube? Hot air comes out one end and cold air comes out the other. No consensus reached on why it happens yet.
Smoot A strange unit of distance used to measure the Harvard Bridge.
Sound of fingernails scraping chalkboard Urrrgggh!

Earth sciences[edit]

"It's flat and that's all there is to it."
"No, this definitely isn't flat, but it's the other way!"
Aachenosaurus A fossil plant that was mistakenly identified as a dinosaur.
Bloop Does a mystery sound from the bottom of the sea indicate that Cthulhu may awake...?
Continental drip A playful theory devised to explain why the continents are tapered toward the south.
Expanding Earth A theory that the Earth is growing.
Flat Earth Society A society, originally British, that holds the belief that the Earth is flat, not spherical.
Featured article Snow in Florida Yes, snow is not unknown in the "Sunshine State".
List of unexplained sounds Must've been the wind.
Mumbai "sweet" seawater incident Salty creek becomes sweet for one tide cycle.
Raining animals When it's literally raining cats and dogs.
Red rain in Kerala Did blood rain from the sky?
South-up map orientation The crew of Apollo 17 snapped Earth with Antarctica on top. NASA followed Ptolemy and rotated it "back".
Featured article S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 An ill-fated attempt to reach the North Pole.
Roy Sullivan An unlucky park ranger who was hit by lightning on seven separate occasions. He survived them all, but came to his own tragic end.
Tinnunculite A recently discovered mineral that forms from bird feces.
Waffle House Index The U.S. government's alternative measure of disaster impact.

Chemistry and material science[edit]

Warning: It's LETHAL.
Thankfully this is now done in specialised reactors, but at first...
At last – the look of BO. Sounds fishy?
Dihydrogen monoxide A commonly used chemical that can be deadly to all forms of plant and animal life, contributing to global warming, erosion, acid rain, torture and countless other maladies. Or... that's what they want you to think.
Hall–Héroult process Invented in a wooden shed, uses temperatures over 1,000 °C (1,830 °F).
List of chemical compounds with unusual names Some a consequence of their constituents or origins, others simply the work of whimsical chemists.
Mole Day A day in celebration of Avogadro's number, 6.02×1023.
Thomas Midgley, Jr. Inventor of two of the world's most severe pollutants – and a machine that killed him.
Nanoputian A series of organic molecules having a structure that looks human.
New car smell Ahh, that new car smell.
Pykrete A bullet-resistant frozen-water compound.
Red mercury A fictional substance which can create immense nuclear explosions in very small quantities.
Thiotimoline A fictional chemical which dissolves before it comes into contact with water.
Trimethylaminuria Do you smell something fishy? It may be you!
Unobtainium A term used to describe any material with properties that are unlikely or impossible for any real material to possess.

Space and astronomy[edit]

"Of course, it never reached the Moon..."
Cosmic latte The average colour of the Universe: a slightly beige white.
Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Driving in space becomes reality.
Embryo space colonization A proposal for colonizing space using embryos raised by robots.
Extraterrestrial real estate Want to buy a housing plot on the Moon?
Fallen Astronaut A small statuette which is the only sculpture on the moon.
Hot, dust-obscured galaxies Hot DOGs, anyone?
List of hypothetical Solar System objects The planets that could have been. You think Pluto had it rough? At least it got its fifteen minutes of astronomical fame.
Lunarcrete Perfect for building your own cut-price moon base.
Matrioshka brain Star-sized computer.
Milkdromeda The birth of a future galaxy, and the death of our own.
The Moon is made of green cheese Scientific consensus says it isn't, but are there people who think so?
Moon landing conspiracy theories Fake photos, slow-motion cameras and secret studios. All directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Moon Museum Only two people have ever seen its exhibits in person.
Nazi UFOs Did the Luftwaffe, in fact, explore the final frontier and make contact with alien races? Whether the secret Nazi base is on the Moon or in Antarctica, the truth is apparently out there.
Sex in space And when you've exhausted the list, here's something new to try!
Space advertising Plans to launch giant billboards into space.
Spaghettification What happens when you fall into a black hole.
Solway Firth Spaceman "Wasn't there when I took the pic – honest!"
Sylacauga (meteorite) The first fallen meteorite in recorded history to have verifiably injured a human.
Timekeeping on Mars How Martians know when they are.
Writing in space How do you write in space?

Medicine and health[edit]

Well, stone me...
Quick – grab a tissue!
Got one of those headaches that just won't go away?
The pharmacy called, your maggot prescription is ready for pick-up
Put them where the sun doesn't shine.
Accessory breast Some people have more than two.
Alien hand syndrome An unusual neurological disorder, also known as "Dr. Strangelove syndrome", whereby one of the sufferer's hands seems to take on a life of its own.
Black hairy tongue Really?
Bristol stool scale Taking a close look at a toilet bowl for the sake of science. The scale was inspired by eye charts.
ChIA-PET Chromatin Interaction Analysis by Paired-End Tag Sequencing, that is.
Dimples of Venus For fans of those dimples you don't find on a face.
Dr. Young's Ideal Rectal Dilators Forcibly withdrawn after officials clamped down on them.
Eigengrau The color seen by the eye in perfect darkness.
Fart lighting The act of igniting gases produced by human flatulence.
Five-second rule The notion that food dropped on the floor is safe to eat only as long as it's picked up within five seconds.
Gynecomastia Also known as "man boobs" or "moobs".
Hair-grooming syncope Who knew that brushing your hair could be deadly?
Human–animal breastfeeding If you have breast milk to spare, a puppy, piglet or monkey would like to hear from you.
Hypertrichosis Also known as "Human Werewolf Syndrome".
Hypoalgesic effect of swearing As Redd Foxx once observed, "if you've never said 'shit', come back with me after the show and I'll slam my car door on your hand'". And you will feel better.
Jenkem Huffing the gas from fermented human feces for a hallucinating effect.
Koro A condition where one (mistakenly) believes that his or her genitals are slowly disappearing.
Licorice poisoning Candy that needs a warning label by the Surgeon General.
Maggot therapy Those hungry, wriggling little larvae will clean up festering wounds because they are hungry.
Male lactation Given the right conditions, just about any male can do it. Fancy a try, boys?
Maple syrup urine disease For once, a sweet smell you don't want your infants exuding.
Medical students' disease A condition frequently reported in medical students who perceive themselves to be experiencing the symptoms of the diseases they are studying.
Mellified Man A legendary medicinal substance from Arabia.
Möbius syndrome A disease, most envied by poker players, that makes facial expressions impossible.
Mucophagy The consumption of mucus.
Nacirema An obscure New World tribe with some interesting practices.
Navel lint A study proves that most belly button fluff is blue and that women are less likely to have it.
Nasal sebum Yes, that stuff on the surface of your nose.
Osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis A tooth in the eye (is worth two in the foot?).
Paleofeces Our ancestors' poop. Worth a close look, apparently.
Photic sneeze reflex People who sneeze when suddenly exposed to bright light.
Rapunzel syndrome Chewing on your hair is one thing, but actually eating it can have some untoward results.
Retained surgical instruments Instruments, that is, which surgeons say patients "keep" after operations.
Schmidt sting pain index An entomologist is stung by just about everything known to sting and, en route, describes the pain involved in terms of a four-point comparative scale.
Thumb twiddling Maybe this is unusual to you.
Trepanation A form of surgery where a hole is drilled or scraped into the skull. It was thought that such a procedure could cure problems like epilepsy or allow a person to enter into a higher state of consciousness.
Uncombable hair syndrome Not just a bad hair day.

Human sexuality and reproduction[edit]

Autofellatio Acts of oral self-stimulation.
Bread dildo A supposed Ancient Greek sex toy, made of bread.
Cello scrotum Don't worry, boys, it's a hoax.
Coregasm An orgasm caused by exercising of the core abdominal muscles.
Donkey punch Allegedly a sex move involving punching one's partner in the back of the head during intercourse.
Female hysteria A once-common diagnosis of a range of symptoms in women, cured through masturbation to orgasm.
Gerbilling An urban legend about a sexual practice purportedly observed by some male celebrities.
Hamster zona-free ovum test A test – sometimes called a "hamster test" – involving human semen, hamster eggs and a petri dish.
Human penis size Scientific data on average size, racial variations, surgical enlargement and urban legends.
Koro A condition where one (mistakenly) believes that his or her genitals are slowly disappearing.
Lithopedion The rare condition of an unborn fetus calcifying.
Male pregnancy For now, it's just a seahorse thing, but...
National Masturbation Day There is a day dedicated to protect the right to masturbate!
Parasitic twin A medical condition where one of two conjoined twins lacks essential organs and must rely on the other for survival, often leeching its blood. An especially rare variant of this, fetus in fetu, involves one partially formed fetus developing within the body of the other.
Penis panic A colloquial term referring to a type of mass hysteria or panic where males grow fearful of removal or shrinking of the penis.
Persistent genital arousal disorder Not as funny as it may sound.
Puppy pregnancy syndrome A condition found in remote regions of India in which people believe they have conceived a puppy shortly after being bitten by a dog.
Self-inflicted caesarean section In 2004 Inés Ramírez Pérez performed a successful Caesarean section on herself using a kitchen knife and hard liquor.
Sleep sex A form of parasomnia (similar to sleepwalking) that causes people to engage in sexual acts while they are asleep.

Individual patients and staff[edit]

Jeanne Calment A Frenchwoman with the longest verified human lifespan in recorded history. She was 122 at the time of her death.
Abigail and Brittany Hensel Conjoined twins with separate heads but joined bodies.
Stubbins Ffirth An American trainee doctor who went to unusual lengths in his quest to prove that yellow fever is not contagious.
Phineas Gage A 19th-century construction worker who survived a three-foot-long (0.91 m) tamping iron going through his skull. His resultant behavioral changes have made him an important figure in the development of neuroscience.
Hans Langseth A guy who had the longest beard recorded in history.
Robert Liston A 19th-century Scottish surgeon who, among other things, performed what has been described as "The only operation in history with a 300 percent mortality".
Lina Medina A Peruvian girl who gave birth to a son when she was five years old, becoming the youngest human mother on record.
Chandre Oram A man in India with a 13-inch (33 cm) tail.
Adam Rainer The only person known to be both a dwarf and a giant.
Alexis St. Martin a 19th-century French-Canadian fur trader who survived a gunshot wound and was left with a hole in his stomach, which allowed revolutionary experiments on digestion to be conducted.
Tarrare Tarrare (c. 1772 – 1798), sometimes spelled Tarare, was a French showman and soldier, noted for his unusual eating habits.
Featured article Mary Toft An English woman who hoaxed doctors into believing that she had given birth to rabbits.

Nervous system and behaviour[edit]

This skull's owner didn't even get a headache – but he was a changed man.
Anton-Babinski syndrome People who are blind but convinced they can see.
Bananadine Exactly how psychedelic are those dried banana peels?
Capgras delusion When you're sure a friend or loved one is an impostor.
Charles Bonnet syndrome Millions of perfectly sane people are having freakish hallucinations – and just not admitting it.
Cotard delusion Suffered by people, very much alive, who believe they're dead.
Dancing mania Unknown forces cause large groups of people to dance hysterically until dropping from exhaustion in multiple incidents in Europe from the 13th to 17th centuries.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity For those allergic to Wi-Fi.
Exploding head syndrome Ever woken up after an hour or two of sleep thinking you've just heard a massive explosion?
Foreign accent syndrome A rare medical condition whereby sufferers speak their native language with a foreign accent.
Fregoli delusion The belief that different people are actually one person in disguise.
Homicidal sleepwalking A real parasomnia that has been successfully used as a defence in court.
Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Like Tourette's syndrome, but more Gallic.
Klüver–Bucy syndrome A behavioral disorder with some very odd symptoms, including "hypersexuality" and a desire to examine objects with the mouth. Named after two doctors who gave psychotropic drugs to lobotomized monkeys.
Mariko Aoki phenomenon A Japanese expression referring to an urge to defecate that is suddenly felt after entering bookstores.
MK-ULTRA When a late-night radio host claims to have been brainwashed by the CIA, you may want to think twice.
Paris Syndrome Particularly common among Japanese tourists. Not to be confused with Jerusalem Syndrome or Stockholm Syndrome.
Rosenhan experiment Sane mental patients.
Stendhal syndrome A psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art or natural beauty.
Tanganyika laughter epidemic What happens when contagious laughter becomes an actual epidemic.
Target fixation To become so fixated on an object you are trying to avoid that you collide with it.
Tip of the tongue A memory-related phenomenon familiar to us all.
The Truman Show delusion Those afflicted feel they are being watched all the time by a television audience, like Jim Carrey in the 1998 movie The Truman Show.
Urophagia The consumption of urine.


A major in Antelopology
Santa's little underwater worms.
Can only wear mittens, not gloves
Adactylidium A mite with a very unusual life cycle.
Animals in space An annotated list of the various animals used in space programs.
Animal attacks Not kidding: death by beavers, bunnies, squirrels, cats and other things you should not have as pets.
Apophallation Are you a snail and can't extract your penis? Amputate and change your gender.
Bobbit worm "Armed with sharp teeth, it is known to attack with such speeds that its prey is sometimes sliced in half." As if being a three-foot (0.91 m) worm were not impressive enough.
Candiru Lodged in and extracted from human penises.
Conservation-induced extinction The extinction of highly endangered parasites at the hands of conservationists.
Christmas tree worm A worm that looks like... a Christmas tree.
Depopulation of cockroaches in the ex-USSR countries A great ecological problem indeed complete with fifteen references in Russian.
Epomis A deceptive beetle larva that entices its own predators by feigning prey-like movements in order to eat its predator.
Exploding toads An as-yet unexplained phenomenon observed in April 2005 in Germany and Denmark. Suggested as a possible weapons delivery system.
Hallucinogenic fish No, the fish are not trippin'; they will cause hallucinations if ingested. It is not known if hallucinations will occur if one fish consumes another.
List of animals displaying homosexual behavior Everything from salmon to seagulls to dragonflies.
List of animals with fraudulent diplomas Your pet may be smarter than you.
London Underground mosquito A species of mosquito that lives in underground railways.
Love dart Hermaphroditic snails play Cupid.
Nightingale excrement as facial Droppings of a nightingale variety used in facials. Some claim that it helps with acne. Project Medicine states that the references are not MEDRS. (MEDical Reliable Source)
Orbiting Frog Otolith A NASA frog experiment, sending two bullfrogs into space to test their sense of balance.
Paracerceis sculpta A species of isopod that has some males that mimic females and others that mimic juveniles, allowing them to mate without the alpha males realising what is going on behind their backs.
Pasilalinic-sympathetic compass Telepathic communication is not possible in snails no matter how far apart they may be. Nothing else has been ruled out.
Penis fencing A literal figurative variety of cockfighting between some species of flatworm.
Pets of Imran Khan It's unfortunate that Sheru, Sherni, Motu, Pidu and Maximus didn't even get their own articles. And the partridges better hide because the dogs think they are yummy.
Prostitution among animals Did you know that prostitution exists among animals?
Stephens Island wren Made extinct by feral cats, possibly the offspring of one pregnant female.
Stray animals at Indian airports Talk about wild protesters!
Supernumerary body part Having an extra body part, be it as simple as an eleventh finger or as extreme as a second head!
Suriname toad The mother's back is where the eggs are embedded and where they develop.
Thagomizer A feature of Stegosaurus anatomy named after a Far Side comic strip.
Tongue-eating louse A parasitic crustacean that, when female (they are hermaphroditic), attaches to and then destroys a fish's tongue, hooks itself to the remaining stub and becomes the fish's new tongue.
Traumatic insemination A form of mating in invertebrates in which the male stabs the female in the abdomen with his penis, and injects his sperm through the wound.
Worm charming No spade? No worries! There's a better way to get hold of earthworms.


Casper A cat famed for traveling on a bus around Plymouth, England.
Cat Mandu The late co-leader of one of Britain's more unusual political parties.
Featured article Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office ...otherwise known as the cat who lives at the official residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Dusty the Klepto Kitty Redefining the term "cat burglar".
Grumpy Cat Unfortunately, this cat can't turn that frown upside down.
Odd-eyed cat One of the national treasures of Turkey.
Unsinkable Sam Unsinkable Sam, a Ship's cat during WWII, survived three ship sinkings. He eventually returned to the UK and spent the rest of his life at the 'Home for Sailors'.
Oscar the Cat A hospice cat who was featured in the New England Journal of Medicine for his purported ability to predict the impending death of terminally ill patients.
Stubbs A cat that was appointed Mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska.
Tama The official station master of Kishi railway station in Japan.


Cow magnet A plastic-coated magnet fed to cows to prevent gut damage by ingested bits of metal, aka hardware disease.
Cow tipping This actually takes up to 14 people to make it happen.
Hardware disease A condition in bovines caused by ingesting stray bits of metal.
Lily Flagg A Jersey cow who made a lot of butter and got a sizable neighborhood named for her.
Yvonne A runaway cow with a €10,000 bounty.


Cannibalism in poultry See: tastes like chicken.
Chicken and duck blood soup Heads and feet included.
Chicken eyeglasses Tiny spectacles for chicks, to stop them from seeing red.
Chicken Dance, Chicken (dance) There is a huge difference.
Chicken gun Valuable for the mitigation of damage from bird strikes. The chicken carcass must be thawed first, though.
Chicken hypnotism Have you ever wanted to hypnotize a chicken? If not, why not?
Chicken or the egg Which came first?
Chicken sexer A person who has been specially trained to determine the sex of chicken hatchlings.
Chicken Powered Nuclear Bomb A British project to lay nuclear mines in West Germany during the Cold War
Empathy in chickens Have some empathy when eating crunchy chicken nuggets.
Hollywood Freeway chickens A colony of feral chickens that have been living underneath a highway off-ramp since 1970.
Mike the Headless Chicken A rooster that lived for 18 months with its head cut off.
Tastes like chicken But baked, grilled, or fried?


A very scary squirrel
Squirrel induced power outages in Pennsylvania Merged into Squirrel attacks.
Squirrel attacks Did you know that insurance companies have a medical code for this? Co-pays vary by insurance plan.
Squirrel fishing A sport of skill and patience.
Purple squirrel Mysteriously colored squirrels.
Blue squirrel Squirrels with a mysterious blue coloration.


Dried deer penis.
Flash photograph of an odd-eyed cat.
Georgian white Russian domesticated Fox
Berserk llama syndrome The result of being too friendly with llamas.
Jack Black Queen Victoria's officially appointed rat-catcher and mole destroyer.
Danish Protest Pig A pig bred to look like the flag of Denmark, to circumvent prohibition of the flag.
Deer penis It is said to enhance sexual potency in men and was banned by the Chinese government from the 2008 Olympics.
Diving horse A short-lived attraction during the 1880s.
Domesticated silver fox Soviet Russia subsidizes the breeding of silver foxes.
Exploding whale The next time a whale washes on shore in one Oregon county, the authorities will leave the dynamite at home.
Fainting goat A breed of goat whose muscles freeze for about 10 seconds when it is startled.
Globster Blobs of organic matter found washed up on beaches, which are frequently as mysterious as they are disgusting.
Guided rat Implanted electrodes let researchers "steer the animal over an obstacle course, making it twist, turn and even jump on demand".
Monkey selfie Is a selfie taken by the critically-endangered Celebes crested macaque eligible for copyright? The Wikipedia article in question focuses on the copyright claim and is the subject of a lawsuit by the owner of the camera on which the images were taken.
Overtoun Bridge A bridge from which dogs keep leaping to their death.
Panda pornography Pornographic movies created to achieve sexual arousal for Giant pandas, which have been proven to be unaffected by the popular drug Viagra.
Street dogs in Moscow Some of them have figured out how to commute using the subway system.
The dog ate my homework Instead of a pathetic excuse for an article, an article about a pathetic excuse.
Weasel war dance The behavior of extremely excited ferrets who are enjoying themselves too much.
Whale fall The ecological consequences associated with a dead whale sinking to the seafloor.

Individual animals[edit]

Colonel-in-Chief Sir Nils Olav.
52-hertz whale Dubbed the "world's loneliest whale", it vocalizes at a frequency used by no known whale species.
Adwaita Possibly the oldest creature of modern times, this 255 year-old tortoise was the former pet of Robert Clive of the British East India Company.
Benson A fish. A big fish. Called Benson.
Bubbles A chimpanzee who used human toilet facilities, moonwalked, and (allegedly) attempted suicide.
Bummer and Lazarus Two stray dogs that roamed the streets of San Francisco, California in the early 1860s and were exempted from local ordinances.
Domino Day 2005 sparrow A sparrow that ruined a Domino exhibition, was killed and became a legal case.
Enumclaw horse sex case An unfortunate case of a horse riding a man, as opposed to a man riding a horse.
Fufu The pet poodle of the then-Crown Prince of Thailand, which was allegedly appointed as Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Thai Air Force.
George A lobster weighing 20 pounds (9.1 kg), estimated to be 140 years old.
Grape-kun A Humboldt penguin who gained worldwide fame after apparently falling in love with a cutout of an anime character.
Handsome Dan The various incarnations of Yale University's athletic mascot. "In personal appearance he seemed like a cross between an alligator and a horned frog...".
Harambe A gorilla killed to prevent it killing a child it was saving, became a meme.
Henry the Hexapus An octopus missing two arms due to an unfortunate birth defect.
Hoover the talking seal Hoover. A seal. Which talked.
Jack A Baboon who took over for his paraplegic owner as an employee of the Cape government railway. Reportedly never erred.[citation needed]
Jenny Haniver A grotesque-looking sea monster made from the corpse of a ray.
Jeremy A left-coiled snail who became famous after a campaign to find another left-coiled snail so he could mate.
Jonathan He made the reverse of the 5p of Saint Helena. What have you done?
Khanzir Possibly the world's loneliest pig. Even more lonely during the swine flu outbreak.
Lin Wang A Taiwanese elephant made famous for his participation in the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Mary Makes the phrase "hung like an elephant" take on a whole new meaning.
Nigger A black dog whose portrayal in The Dam Busters (1955) somehow had to be edited out, overdubbed, or renamed. Nigger's grave remains unredacted, though.
Nils Olav A King Penguin who is Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Norwegian Guard.
Nim Chimpsky A chimpanzee, subject of long-running studies into animal language acquisition, named punningly for linguist Noam Chomsky.
Osama bin Laden (elephant) An elusive elephant who terrorized the jungle of Assam. He was eventually shot, but there are those who question the official story of his death. Much like his famous namesake.
Owen and Mzee Hippo and tortoise that befriended each other after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.
Paul A now-deceased psychic octopus who could predict the winner of football games, notably during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Potoooooooo An 18th century racehorse also known as "Pot-8-Os".
Ravens of the Tower of London Ravens used as soldiers in the Tower of London
River Thames whale In 2006, a Northern Bottlenose swam into London and on to the front pages of the British newspapers.
Rose A goat that was married to a Sudanese man in 2006.
St Guinefort A 13th-century French dog unofficially venerated as a saint until the 1930s.
Tamworth Two In 1998, two pigs escaped from an abattoir in Wiltshire and made news, both in the United Kingdom and worldwide. (Their story was turned into a TV movie in 2003.)
Tillamook Cheddar The world's most successful and widely shown animal artist.
Timothy A tortoise that was present during the bombardment of Sevastopol during the Crimean War in 1854 and survived until 2004.
Tirpitz A pig who survived the sinking of one warship, to become the mascot on one of the ships that had sunk his first home. Tragically he was then auctioned off and eaten.
Topsy (elephant) An elephant that was electrocuted, as the event was filmed by the Edison Manufacturing Company.
William Windsor A Cashmere goat that is a lance corporal in the British Army's 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh infantry.
Wojtek A soldier of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps who also happened to be a Syrian Brown Bear. He enjoyed beer and cigarettes.

Names in biology[edit]

Neopalpa donald­trumpi: They say it's really small.
Anophthalmus hitleri Rare blind beetle named after Adolf Hitler, poached by collectors of Hitler memorabilia.
Aptostichus stephencolberti A trapdoor spider named after Stephen Colbert. Naturally, because he asked for it.
Bill Gates' flower fly A flower fly, Eristalis gatesi, named after Bill Gates. Monkey A new species of monkey that was officially named after the internet casino.
Harryplax A genus of crab named in part after the titular character of the Harry Potter franchise. The sole species of this genus is named after the coldly hostile, yet emotion-concealing character from the same franchise.
List of names for the Wild Turkey Not included: "the Wild Turkey".
Mothers against decapentaplegic Actually, it's a protein.
Neopalpa donaldtrumpi A moth remarkable for its orange head and small genitalia.
Pikachurin An extracellular matrix-like retinal protein named after Pikachu.
Scrotum humanum Nothing to do with trouser snakes, but lizards of an entirely different scale.
Setaceous Hebrew Character A European moth with wing markings bearing a chance resemblance to a letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
You may snicker now, but if you had any of these, I guarantee you wouldn't be laughing much.
Sonic hedgehog (protein) A protein in the vertebrate hedgehog family that was officially named after Sega's video game character Sonic the Hedgehog.
Spongiforma squarepantsii A type of mushroom named after SpongeBob SquarePants.
Strigiphilus garylarsoni A biting louse named for cartoonist Gary Larson of Far Side fame.
Synalpheus pinkfloydi A species of snapping shrimp named after the famous English rock band.
Zombie taxon Paleontology of the undead.
Zyzyxia lundellii and Zyzzyva The last plant name and animal name in the dictionary, respectively.
See also


The Queens Giant – the oldest living thing in the New York metropolitan area.
Arbre du Ténéré A solitary acacia that was once the most isolated tree on Earth before being run over by a drunken Libyan truck driver.
Gernikako Arbola The Basque national tree, centre of a number of political disputes, once put under armed guard.
Axe murder incident A poplar tree once nearly caused a war between North and South Korea.
Bialbero di Casorzo A cherry tree that grows upon a mulberry tree in Italy.
Chandelier Tree A 300-foot-tall (91 m) redwood with a giant hole cut through the middle for cars to drive through.
Moon trees Trees planted from seeds that were taken into space by Apollo 14.
Nepenthes lowii A plant that lures animals to release their droppings into a pitcher.
Old Man of the Lake A 30-foot tree stump that has been floating around Oregon's Crater Lake since at least 1896.
Pando An 80,000 year old quaking aspen colony that is believed to be one of the oldest and heaviest organisms on the planet.
Plant arithmetic Plants can do math!
Penis Plant A cactus the Germans call Frauenglück, or "Women's Joy".
Queens Giant A tulip tree located in northeastern Queens, New York City, that is confirmed to be the oldest living thing in the New York metropolitan area, as well as the tallest tree in the NY metro area. As of 2005, it is up to 450 years old and 134 feet (41 m) tall. It was alive before the birth of Shakespeare.
Tree of Knowledge (Australia) Killed by ignorance.
Tree That Owns Itself An oak tree in Athens, Georgia which is popularly regarded as owning itself.
See also