Seven-year-old Matilda Davenport got an official namesake Wednesday - a menacing snake with yellow and black scales, two spiky horns and eerie, slitted green eyes.
Matilda's horned viper, (Atheris matildae) became the latest species to be discovered in Tanzania in an announcement Wednesday.
Matilda's father, Tim Davenport, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania, as a part of the team that discovered the new viper species.
My daughter, who was five at the time, became fascinated by it and used to love spending time watching it and helping us look after it, Davenport told The Associated Press on Wednesday. We called it Matilda's Viper at that stage ... and then the name stuck.
Matlida may be fortunate enough to have a researcher for a father, but for a price, nearly anybody can have a species named after them.
A donation of $2,500 to $10,000 to Discover Life in America, a nonprofit that studies biodiversity in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will name a species after you, according to Executive Director Todd Witcher.
The company can be reached at (865) 430-4757 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the organization's web site: Donors who name a species will receive a print of their named organism, as well as a copy of the scientific publication in which it is first described. The species naming process typically takes a year or longer to complete, as the scientific process of careful research, paper submission, and review for publication is very involved.
Celebrities, U.S. presidents and even movie characters all have species names after them.
Some examples listed in Popular Mechanics:
Barack Obama: Caloplaca obamae (an orange-colored lichen)
George W. Bush, Agathidium bushi (a slime mold beetle)
Darth Vader: Agathidium vaderi (another slime mold beetle)
Stephen Colbert (TV comedian): Aptostichus stephencolberti and Agaporomorphus colberti (spider and Venezuelan diving beetle)
Hugh Hefner (Playboy founder: Sylvilagus palustris hefneri (a marsh rabbit)
Gary Larson (creator of the Far Side comic strip): Strigiphilus garylarsoni (owl louse)