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…eBay is the new Museum of Natural History?

eBay Species

A sea urchin purchased on eBay was discovered to be an undocumented and entirely new species, after Natural History Museum scientist Simon Coppard was asked to identify it, and was unable to do so. Not finding it in any of his books, he named it Coelopleurus exquisitus (sadly, he didn’t go with their second choice, eBayian auctionius). Sadly, he also thinks that many of the shells that have been appearing on eBay over the past five years are due to illegal trawling. Next time you’re looking to make your own necklace Martha Stuart, find your own damn shells.

[Via: Boing Boing]

…People love flowers that smell like rotting flesh?

Corpse Flower

In a Virginia Tech greenhouse, they are growing a flower that smells “like several days old road kill on a hot, sunny day”, and people are actually excited to experience the thing. Called the corpse flower, or Amorphophallus titanium, it blooms for eight hours one day, emits a stench bad enough to gag a maggot, and then closes up. The plant then needs to save up energy for several more years just to bloom again. Apparently, making dead and rotting flesh smell isn’t as easy as one would expect. It does all of this to attract decaying flesh-eating beetles, flies, sweat bees for pollination, and legions of fans to boost its self esteem. Hundreds of people waited to be guided in groups of 10-20 through the experience the flower up close and personal. Cheer up old chap; everyone loves a phallic shaped flower that smells like dead animal.

[Via: CBS News]

Update: So apparently I had no grasp on the actual size of this thing. I was thinking like a daisy size stink. This behemoth is a human sized stinker. It looks like you could just fall in and swim around for a little bit. I’m finding seeds and planting one  in my backyard (or the neighbor’s backyard) ASAP.

Flower Person