The College Fix reports that a Yale researcher, in a new first, has decided to violate Linnaean nomenclature in order to make a political statement.
A Yale University researcher has given a newly discovered ant species the first of its kind — a “non-binary” scientific name.
According to New Scientist, taxonomic expert Douglas Booher, suggested to ant discoverer Philipp Hoenle of Germany’s Technical University that the new species get the “gender non-binary identifier ‘they,’” in this case Strumigenys ayersthey.
Keep in mind there is nothing about this particular ant’s characteristics which actually warrant a “non-binary” designation; as the Daily Mail notes, only humans can describe themselves as such based on how they perceive their gender.
Traditional species names are either masculine (suffix “-i”) or feminine (“ae”).
Booher wanted to honor Jeremy Ayers, an Andy Warhol protégé and human rights activist, with the new discovery. He enlisted the band R.E.M.’s frontman, Michael Stipe, to assist him in writing the etymology section for the paper on the new ant.
“[Ayers] identified as a gay man [note: not non-binary] outside of his Warhol character, but I’m naming it after him with the suffix added to include all non-binary people for his activism,” Booher said. He added that Ayers actually “would’ve shied away from himself being honoured.”