Monday, 12 July 2021

Scholasticus Hardassus

This is Carl Linnaeus, the famous Swedish naturalist and taxonomist, who invented the binomial system of naming organisms we still use today (eg 'homo sapiens' or 'rattus rattus')

He seems a genial, easy-going sort of chap, doesn't he? 

Well, now. In 1756, Linnaeus fell out with one of his protégés, Daniel Rolander, who refused to show him some plant samples from his expedition to Suriname, which Linnaeus felt he had a right to see. 

In response, Linnaeus... broke into Rolander's rooms (or possibly just barged in, it's not clear, but entered by force at any rate) and stole the samples. 

Then, he used his influence to black-ball Rolander from any further appointments at Stockholm University, essentially wrecking his career. 

And then... he found a tiny, ground-dwelling bug - this one, in fact -
...and gave it the scientific name 'Aphanus Rolandri', or 'Ignoble Rolander'. 

What I'm saying is... do not cross Carl Linnaeus.  Carl Linnaeus is not messing about.

8 comments:

slepkane said...

Still couldn't decide what to call a roadrunner though, could he!

Julia said...

When you read about Linnaeus, did you by any chance stumble upon Johann Georg Siegesbeck? Siegesbeck strongly disagreed with Linnés classification system based on sexual attributes as well as the scandalously explicit language Linné used in his books (and it actually is rather, well, blunt - especially for the time). So Siegesbeck openly disputed Linnaeus and used his position in St. Petersburg to withhold plant delieveries from Russia and Sibiria in order to impede his progress.

Linneaus on the other hand named a plant after Siegesbeck, Sigesbeckia serrata, a little prickly weed with extremely sticky seedcases. Seedcases that stick everywhere and annoy the hell out of you, since they are almost impossible to get rid of.

So petty revenge seems to have been quite a specialty of Linnaeus. But then again, when coming up with a new and groundbreaking nomenclature, maybe a lot of us would take the chance to take a dig or two ...

Zouk Delors said...

If you were to cross Linnaeus, what would you cross him with? And how would you name the result?

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v.edgy said...

Carl Linnaeus sounds like a snake
With an ego the size of a whale
When crossed hideous... but one gentle shake
He becomes a nuclear snail

Maybe?

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