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Not Satire: Joe Biden Gets Prehistoric 'Vampire Squid' Named After Him

  We all get associated with the animal we deserve, I suppose. President Teddy Roosevelt, an avid hunter, lent his name to the teddy bear wh...

 We all get associated with the animal we deserve, I suppose.

President Teddy Roosevelt, an avid hunter, lent his name to the teddy bear when he refused to shoot a tied-up ursine. According to the National Park Service, Roosevelt’s hosts during a hunting expedition to Mississippi tied the bear up because Teddy hadn’t located a single bear during the expedition.

Roosevelt, however, viewed it as unsporting, forever lending his name to a stuffed toy named in honor of the gallant gesture.

In related news, President Joe Biden just had a fossilized vampire squid named after him.

There are plenty of good reasons why this was an apt connection to draw.

However, the man who named the rare prehistoric squid — Syllipsimopodi bideni — after our current president insisted it wasn’t meant to be a slight.

“I wanted to somehow acknowledge the moment in a way that was more positive and forward-looking,” said Christopher Whalen, a paleontologist with the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, according to the New York Post.

“I was encouraged by the plans President Biden put forward to counter anthropogenic climate change and his general sentiment that politicians should listen to scientists.”

Maybe this time the White House might not be so keen on that whole “listen to the science” line. Of all the times the president says “not a joke” to deal with tall tales involving his life, he might wish this was very much a joke.Instead, it’ll inspire plenty of jokes: “One’s a prehistoric creature with very little grey matter that wants its tentacles in everything. The other is Syllipsimopodi bideni, a fossilized vam


News of the prehistoric vampire squid species was published Tuesday in scientific journal Nature Communications, although it had been submitted around the time of the inauguration.

According to The New York Times, the fossil was originally discovered in Montana, which was a tropical marine bay 328 million years ago.

“When an ancient octopus died in these waters, its soft, squishy body was buried and pristinely fossilized,” the Times reported.

“The fossil was originally donated to the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada in 1988 but sat in a drawer for decades until Christopher Whalen, a paleontologist from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, pulled it out of a drawer and noticed its preserved arms. When he looked under a microscope, he saw small suckers dimpling the rock.”

While Whelan originally thought it would be like other cephalopods found in Montana, it shared more in common with vampyropods, or vampire squids. In fact, it’s the earliest known ancestor of the vampyropods of today, Whalen and his colleagues say.

However, others in the field say the squid might just be a specimen of an already-discovered species of cephalopod. I wish I could report to you the species were called Barackius obamicus or Jimmycartericus inflationis, but it’s known as Gordoniconus beargulchensis. (The universe, alas, doesn’t always provide the perfect punchline.)

“It’s the exact same size, the exact same age, the exact same locality, the exact same proportions and it’s just preserved a little bit differently” as G. beargulchensis, said Christian Klug, a paleontologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

However, there’s no evidence that S. bideni had a number of features that G. beargulchensis had, including an inner-chambered shell and a primordial rostrum — “a mineralized counterweight to ensure early cephalopods could swim horizontally,” the Times notes.

Whatever the case, the final paragraph Sabrina Imbler’s Times story (and the quote from Whelan that it contains) is a masterpiece of unintentional hilarity.

“The suckers may be a small part of S. bideni’s story, but Dr. Whalen is indebted to them. ‘This was sitting in a museum since the ’80s, and no one realized it was important,’ he said. ‘We chanced on that importance because I happened to notice the arm suckers,'” it reads.

A fossilized vampire squid that would have been forgotten historically, but for the suckers. I can append no comment that can top that.

A year after the inauguration, the world is a whole lot scarier than any vampire squid would be. Inflation has been a massive suck on our bank accounts and the economy has seen only a tepid recovery.

We’re on the brink of global conflict over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This was preceded by a cataclysmic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. A Chinese adventure in Taiwan might not be far behind.

But, yes, we’re told this was all a tribute. Whelan may not be so charitable when his fiscal year 2022 funding is worth less than a tank of gas, but one assumes the president will have forgotten all about it by then.

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