When Anna McCallum discovered a new shrimp species near Australia, instead of naming it after herself, like most selfish scientists, she put the naming rights on eBay to raise money for marine conservation.
McCallum, now a PhD student at the University of Melbourne, was shocked at the winning bidder’s identity—one of Michael Jordan’s lesser-known teammates, according to The Scientist:
The winner of the eBay auction, with a bid of AU $3,600 (US $2,900), was Luc Longley, a former NBA basketball player who won three straight championships with the dynastic Chicago Bulls team of the late 1990s. “It was a total surprise that a basketballer would be interested in this little deep-sea shrimp,” McCallum recalls.
It’s not the first time someone has discovered a new species on eBay, but this is the first time a scientist has found a new insect species on the Internet.
In this case, a man in Lithuania recently sold his 40- to 50-million-year-old fossil of an insect on eBay for $37 to a scientist. The buyer let his curiosity get the best of him, so he sent the insect to an expert in Denmark who confirmed that it was indeed a completely new species. The expert then named the insect Mindarus harringtoni, after the scientist, Richard Harrington.
“It’s rather nice to have something named after you, even if it is an old fossil,” says Harrington, an entomologist at Rothamstead Research Centre. He donated the insect to the Natural History Museum.