Transgender trilobites: woke taxonomy at work

It emerged in late April that residents of Trump Plaza, a 40-storey skyscraper in the New York suburb of New Rochelle, had a real problem with their address: it was named after Donald Trump. As Trump is considered by all right-thinking American voters to be The Most Evil Man Who Has Ever Lived, some tower-dwellers think association with his name is pushing the potential value of their property down. They are organising a vote to see whether the building should be renamed after someone less controversial – Genghis Khan, Sauron, Darth Vader, Humbert Humbert or Heinrich Himmler, perhaps.

For certain people in New Rochelle, simply having to walk past a building sharing the name of such a notorious racist as Mr Trump, described by one local as being “the Devil himself”, was an act of violence against their very being. Still, the process of renaming a building is a fairly simple legal procedure.

How on earth would such easily offended, over-sensitive souls go about renaming an animal which had been named after The Donald?

There is just such a creature, Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, an endangered species of Californian moth. It was named after Trump because of its unusual orange “hairstyle” (actually head-scales) and “unique genitalia”. The entomologist who named the moth in 2017 hoped it would encourage the then-new President to enact various national conservation measures. In fact his act was more likely to encourage Trump’s foes to head out into the Californian scrub in search of the poor creatures armed with insect-spray and rolled-up newspapers.

A nomenclative reckoning may now be coming for all such carelessly christened creatures. In 2024 the American Ornithological Society, distressed by the fact that certain US birds are named after evil individuals from the nation’s dark past of slave-owning and Indian genocide, has begun comprehensively relabelling every native species named after human beings of any kind – because they were all white, and therefore morally irredeemable. Mother Nature itself now urgently has to be decolonised.

Pressure is building for woke zoologists to begin renaming other animals likewise – so Neopalpa donaldtrumpi’s days may indeed be numbered after all, at least under its problematic name.

Yet, when it comes to being named after controversial political figures, other species may be even worse off than the Donald Trump Moth …

Volkswagen Beetle

Did you know there is an obscure beetle named after Adolf Hitler? Well, there is. Anophthalmus hitleri (“Eyeless Hitler”), a pale-skinned Slovenian cave-beetle, was named after Adolf in 1933 by an Austrian admirer, perhaps on account of its uncontrollable habit of greedily swallowing up anything smaller and weaker nearby it could get its mandibles on, like the Südetenland or Poland. As Hitler apparently liked beetles, he sent the entomologist who christened the insect an official thank-you note.

Anophthalmus hitleri has yet to be renamed,  but there is a movement now to get the brownshirt beetle rechristened. Already, in 2018, when Greek bug-botherers discovered a closely-related cave beetle, they named it Duvalius owensi after Jesse Owens, the black US runner who won four golds at Hitler’s 1936 Summer Olympics, thus undermining his doctrine of Aryan racial supremacy, in order to demonstrate that the scientists in question were on the right side of history.

It seems that bug-fanciers would like to justify their renaming of the Hitler Beetle on spurious environmental concerns, claiming that, due to the species’ new-found notoriety, neo-Nazi bug-hunters are descending upon Slovenian caves, collecting the poor coleopteroid to death in the name of fascism, and selling them on for up to £1,200 per specimen.

Yet, as Dr Max Barclay, a curator at London’s Natural History Museum and co-author of Beetles of the World: A Natural History, told the New York Times in December 2023, if you were to draw a Venn diagram of entomologists, speleologists (cave-explorers), and neo-Nazis, “How many people are in the overlap of these three tiny circles?” None, it would appear. According to Dr Barclay: “I know all the good entomologists capable of finding and recognizing them [Hitler Beetles], and I am fairly sure none are Nazis and only two or three have ever been in a cave.”

The entomologists in question want to rename the Hitler Beetle, because, like the people of New Rochelle with Donald Trump, they disapprove of Hitler’s politics. The environmental concerns are merely a convenient excuse. However, when he heard about the campaign, the President of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN), Thomas Pape, was having none of it, declaring in 2022 that Anophthalmus hitleri “was not offensive when it was proposed, and it may not be offensive 100 years from now.”

Well, I hope that Mr. Pape is incorrect in his apparent prediction that a Führer-rehabilitating Fourth Reich will arise at some point over the coming century, but I do agree that renaming the Hitler Beetle – or indeed The Donald Moth – is a pointless exercise.

Or is it? To most ordinary people, I think it would be. But to those with the actual institutional power, it may serve a genuine useful function: namely, as an illustration of their current comprehensive powers to control and reshape every single aspect of the much hated (to them, at least) traditional society which surrounds them. Even down to the names of tiny, insignificant insects.


Join Mercator today for free and get our latest news and analysis

Buck internet censorship and get the news you may not get anywhere else, delivered right to your inbox. It's free and your info is safe with us, we will never share or sell your personal data.

Beasts of (historical) burden

I can just about see the point of renaming an animal which was intentionally christened with the intent of offending people. If Hamas scientists had catalogued a Jewish Octopus (Octopus zionus), or the KKK attempted to officially register a Jim Crow (Corvus segregationus). But “Eyeless Hitler” wasn’t named in this spirit at all. It is just an unfortunate historical artefact.

Whilst personally I find it amusing rather than offensive that there is an insect named after Adolf Hitler, there can be no doubt that many flora and fauna have been christened after historical figures of less than stellar moral repute. There is a Lenin’s ichthyosaur (a prehistoric marine reptile), a Mussolini moth (found in Libya, which Il Duce once invaded), and even an O.J. Simpson’s Gazelle, so named for its effortless ability to outrun the police.

But, then again, there are likewise many animals out there named after supposedly morally irreproachable left-liberal figures too, like Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Greta Thunberg and Bill Gates, all of whom today also have amphibians, insects, lichen or spiders named after them. No-one in the scientific community seems to be calling for them to be renamed – I’m certainly not, even though I can’t stand a single one of them.

When it comes to naming animals after left-wing political or social icons, it would appear there is no problem at all, no matter how absurd the example may be.

I can see how it might just about be logical to name a wasp after Sting, especially in light of his obsession with saving the rainforests. But is it really sane to name an entire tranche of newly discovered trilobite species after prominent drag queens, including Ru Paul (I. rupauli) and the Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries (D. humphriesi), as one group of PC palaeontologists did in this 2018 paper? 

(There’s a list of who all these cross-dressing attention-seekers actually are here, if you really care.)

Isn’t naming a long list of extinct marine arthropods just as mad and politically partisan as naming a single beetle after Adolf Hitler? Not to the lefty activists who run our museums these days.

I would guess the above idiocy has been done as palaeontologists have thus far been lamentably unable to determine whether or not there was any sexual dimorphism present amongst trilobites, due to soft and floppy prehistoric genitalia making poor fossils. As such, some pink palaeontologists have even now begun calling them “Queerlobites” (albeit only on an informal basis … thus far) and producing little rainbow-coloured gay-badges in the creatures’ shape: 

It is unusual to see a left-wing group explicitly hoping to “drive” a “change in climate” for once, but there you go. Here, meanwhile, is a protective magical gay amulet of some kind made by a participant in an infantile clay-moulding self-help workshop held at Oxford’s Pitt-Rivers Museum in 2021/22, as part of the same organisation’s absolutely essential Beyond the Binary exhibition, devoted to wasting £91,200 worth of UK Natural Lottery Fund money queering not only the human past, but the prehistoric past of the world of fossils too:

I’m a trilobite. Scientists do not know how to tell whether I am male, female, both, neither, or constantly changing. My reproductive life is mine and mine alone but I am no less valid. I am part of history and I am in the majority in my own time. Be yourself. • Anonymous participant in Oxford University's Beyond the Binary clay amulets workshop

If that were satire, it would be quite funny. As it is serious, it is absolutely hilarious.

How would the poor old trilobites themselves feel about being renamed “Queerlobites”, or officially scientifically relabelled after obscure tranny TV stars? We’ll never know, because they’ve all been dead for around 251 million years, and are therefore rendered wholly voiceless, an oppressed status once-persecuted queer people should surely be more sensitive towards. (For a previous article of mine about one US museum’s discovery of an alleged “Tranny-Saurus Rex”, by the way, see here.)

I suppose at this point you would be expecting me to say :”If lefties can demand we re-name all birds and beetles previously named after dead white racists, then conservatives should be demanding we re-name all trilobites named after ostentatious stage-homosexuals too.” But I’m not.

The people we choose to honour by naming things after them can tell future generations something very important about the prevailing values of societies of the day.

Just look how twisted and perverted life in 1930s Germany must have been for their scientists to have officially named a beetle after a ranting, genocidal, fascist dictator, for example. What it says about the nature of life in the present-day West that scientists have decided to officially name some trilobites after a bunch of massive sexual deviants (Barry Humphries honourably excepted), meanwhile, I shall leave it to historians of the future to decide …  

 Whom would you name a new slime mould after? Tell us in the comments below.  

Steven Tucker is a UK-based writer whose work has appeared in print and online worldwide. The author of over ten books, mostly about fringe beliefs and eccentrics, his latest title, “Hitler’s and Stalin’s Misuse of Science” exposes how the insane and murderous abuses of science perpetrated by the Nazis and the Soviets are being repeated anew today by the woke left who have now captured so many of our institutions of learning.

Image credit: Bigstock


Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • mrscracker
    It’s always amazing what people at places like Oxford can come up with.
  • Steven Tucker
    published this page in The Latest 2024-05-13 15:20:40 +1000