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Author Topic: Unknown insect discovered on eBay
Agent 204
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posted 20 August 2008 03:06 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Dr Richard Harrington thought he was buying just an interesting curio when he paid 20 for the fossilised insect encased in amber.

But it turned out to be a long extinct type of aphid which became trapped in the resin as it seeped from a tree millions of years ago.

It has now been named after Dr Harrington, vice-president of the UK's Royal Entomological Society, who specialises in aphids.

He bought the fossil on the internet auction site from a man in Lithuania.

Because he couldn't identify it himself Dr Harrington, who works at the world-famous Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire, sent it to fossil aphid expert Professor Ole Heie in Denmark. He confirmed that it was from a previously undescribed species.



Source.

From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 20 August 2008 03:49 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why do we need a thread about this?

Previously unknown insect species are being discovered every day - and these are living specimens, not extinct ones.

Nothing to see here, folks.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 20 August 2008 05:22 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Why do we need a thread about this?

Previously unknown insect species are being discovered every day - and these are living specimens, not extinct ones.

Nothing to see here, folks.


Do you want a muffin to sooth your rage at this thread?

This is interesting because the damned thing was discovered on EBAY. I think that warrants at least a 'hm' from a functioning mind, if only for the trivia factor.

Stephen Colbert got a spider named after him, but creatures are named or reclassified everyday, so there is absolutely nothing important about having a celebrity choose the arachnid being named after him.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 20 August 2008 05:40 PM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Papal Bull:
Stephen Colbert got a spider named after him, but creatures are named or reclassified everyday, so there is absolutely nothing important about having a celebrity choose the arachnid being named after him.

Not to mention Gary Larson having a bird louse named after him. But the one that really takes the cake is Anophthalmus hitleri, a cave beetle from Slovenia (named in 1933). A lot of people would like to change that name, but the rules of zoological nomenclature say otherwise, apparently.

More curiosities of biological nomenclature can be found here.


From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 20 August 2008 06:08 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Papal Bull:
Do you want a muffin to sooth your rage at this thread?
Rage? What Rage? This story is far too insignificant and unimportant to bother having strong emotions about.
quote:
This is interesting because the damned thing was discovered on EBAY.
I beg to differ. The fact that it was bought from someone through eBay is as unremarkable as if it had been purchased at a flea market, or an antique jewellery store, or through a newspaper classified ad.

People buy thousands of things on eBay every day. Some turn out to be worth much more than the price paid, or they are of significantly more interest to the purchaser than to the vendor. This happens probably a hundred times a day, if not more.

Nothing to see here, folks.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 20 August 2008 06:13 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've got carrot and bran or zucchini muffins, M. You know you want to discuss it. Heck, I'll even ice them

Either way, I wholeheartedly disagree. I feel that this is worth discussing as it is bringing the actual act of discovery closer and closer to home, whether you agree or not. The fact is that by some fluke someone in the know purchased a chunk of amber from Lithuania and managed to find a hitherto undiscovered aphid. Trivial though our green little lady bug meals may seem, the interest here falls into the fact that this discovery was greatly facilitated by e-Bay. The value of the object becomes pointless in the face of what has happened here. And I'm quite surprised with you - ignoring this on the fact that people find things of value in flea markets all the time. As a geeky archivist and history buff, I have to tell you that some of those discoveries can have very profound impacts.


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 20 August 2008 06:18 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you feel so strongly that there is nothing to see here, M. Spector, then I fail to understand why you'd devote so much typing to the subject. If people aren't interested, they'll ignore it. If they're interested, then who are you to tell them it's not worth reading or discussing? Why not just ignore the thread?
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 20 August 2008 06:34 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Papal Bull:
Trivial though our green little lady bug meals may seem, the interest here falls into the fact that this discovery was greatly facilitated by e-Bay.
No, eBay had nothing to do with the discovery - only with the purchase and sale of the object. The purchaser didn't know the amber contained an unknown species when he made the purchase. It was a find as serendipitous as if he had found the amber on the beach on the shores of the Baltic Sea, or in a pawn shop.

This story sounds like something eBay would issue a press release about in order to tout the "hidden treasures" that are available on its site. On a slow newsday some MSM picked it up and printed it. Ho-hum.

quote:
And I'm quite surprised with you - ignoring this on the fact that people find things of value in flea markets all the time.
That's precisely my point. It happens all the time. This is a dog-bites-man story.

Are we going to get breathless news reports (and new babble threads) every time someone finds an interesting thing at a flea market or on eBay?

quote:
As a geeky archivist and history buff, I have to tell you that some of those discoveries can have very profound impacts.
Well, of course they do. But not this time. I would be just as enthusiastic as you about this bit of news if the story had contained any indication that the discovery of this extinct insect had a profound impact. Or any impact at all.

Is it a missing link? Does its discovery answer some long-unanswerwed questions about evolutionary entomology? That would be an interesting story.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 20 August 2008 06:50 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Are we going to get breathless news reports (and new babble threads) every time someone finds an interesting thing at a flea market or on eBay?

That's a good idea!


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Bookish Agrarian
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posted 20 August 2008 06:54 PM      Profile for Bookish Agrarian   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Let me guess- M. doesn't like the Antiques Roadshow either
From: Home of this year's IPM | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 20 August 2008 06:57 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
just for teh referencez
From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 20 August 2008 06:59 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I love the Antiques Roadshow. They show real treasures, and they explain the importance or historical significance of things.

When are we going to get babble threads entitled "Woman finds out old roll-top desk in attic is worth $7,500"?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Papal Bull
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posted 20 August 2008 07:01 PM      Profile for Papal Bull   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
I love the Antiques Roadshow. They show real treasures, and they explain the importance or historical significance of things.

And an extinct insect has neither importance nor historical significance? Or are you just wanting the explanation of those things?


From: Vatican's best darned ranch | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 20 August 2008 07:08 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Papal Bull:
And an extinct insect has neither importance nor historical significance?
I don't know. Some probably do. Others probably not.

The article in the OP isn't about the importance or historical significance of the insect in question. If it were, it might be of interest.

As I noted above, new insect species - living ones - are being discovered all the time. Not even the scientific journals bother publishing articles about every one of them - only the important ones.

Was this an important find? If it was, The Telegraph missed the story completely.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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