FlipFact of the Day: The first non-avian dinosaur ever described was named after… human testicles.
In 1676, a mysterious fossilized fragment was unearthed in a limestone quarry in Oxfordshire, England. A Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Robert Plot, correctly identified it as part of a massive femur, deeming it too huge to belong to any animal known at the time.
86 years later, in 1763, a physician named Richard Brookes redescribed the specimen based on an illustration by Plot. Brookes had the balls to give it the scientific name 𝘚𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘶𝘮, due to its resemblance to a pair of human testicles.
Fast forward to 1824, when paleontologist William Buckland gave it a more fitting and respectable name: 𝘔𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘴𝘢𝘶𝘳𝘶𝘴 (“great lizard”). Fortunately (and unsurprisingly), it was the name that stuck.
Read more about the, er, ballsy beginnings of dinosaur nomenclature here.
Today’s Science History Milestone: On September 12, 1940, five schoolboys discovered ancient paintings of animals on the walls of the Lascaux cave in France. The prehistoric paleoart dated back to 15,000 BCE.
Still remember your 5th-grade science classes? Test your knowledge and see if you still remember these facts and fundamental concepts in human anatomy, biology, botany, and other branches of science. Click here to try the “Are You Smarter Than A Pinoy Fifth-Grader” Challenge.
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Cover: Wikimedia Commons/Smithsonian Libraries
Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.