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Edward Snowden Crayfish: NSA Whistleblower Gets Species Named After Him

Image: Edward Snowden Crayfish: NSA Whistleblower Gets Species Named After Him
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By    |   Wednesday, 26 Aug 2015 10:12 AM

Edward Snowden was honored in an unusual way this week when a new crayfish species was named after him by German researcher and fan Christian Lukhaup.

Lukhaup and two other researchers wrote Monday in the science journal ZooKeys that the crayfish, named Cherax snowden, had previously been misidentified as a similar species, NBC News reported.

"The crayfish, as far as scientists know, doesn't have advanced computer skills, and hasn't exposed any government surveillance programs," Time's Elina Dockterman wrote. "Instead, it is regularly exported from its home in the West Papau region of Indonesia to Europe, East Asia, and North America as a colorful pet, usually under the name 'orange tip' or 'green orange tip.'"

Lukhaup left little doubt who he was naming the crayfish after and why in the research's etymology.

"The new species is named after the American freedom fighter Edward Joseph Snowden," Lukhaup wrote. "He is honored due to of his extraordinary achievements in defense of justice, and freedom. The name is used as a noun in apposition."

The study stated that the new species were exported from Sorong, Indonesia, in 2006, captured by an unknown local collector from Kepala Burung for ornamental purposes in West Papua, Indonesia, and imported to the Aquarium Dietzenbach in Germany.

The Washington Post wrote that researchers who describe the new species to science for the first time pretty much have free naming rights. The newspaper said a typical naming convention follows a genus-species construction, according to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature guidelines.

"After describing a couple new species, I thought about naming one after Edward Snowden because he really impressed me," Lukhaup told The Post. "We have so many species named after other famous people who probably don't do so much for humanity. I wanted to show support for Edward Snowden. I think what he did is something very special."

Snowden is best known for taking and then leaking top-secret document caches from the National Security Agency to journalists in 2013, which led to articles revealing details of the NSA's surveillance program.

Now exiled in Russia, Snowden remains a controversial figure in the United States but has been viewed more favorable in Germany.

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Edward Snowden was honored in an unusual way this week when a new crayfish species was named after him by German researcher and fan Christian Lukhaup.
edward snowden, crayfish, species, named
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2015-12-26
Wednesday, 26 Aug 2015 10:12 AM
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