When it comes to naming newly discovered organisms, scientists often go with a take on their own names, reference the location where it was found, or look to pop culture and celebrities for inspiration. According to CNET, scientists recently discovered four new beetle species on an island in Papua New Guinea and named one after the best (and furriest) co-pilot in the Star Wars universe, Chewbacca.
The official scientific name for the beetle is Trigonopterus chewbacca. According to the study (recently published in the journal Zoo Keys), scientists Matthew H. Van Dam, Raymond Laufa, and Alexander Riedel chose the name because the species has "dense scales on the head and the legs, which reminds the authors of Chewbacca’s dense fur." The other species are Trigonopterus obsidianus, a reference to the "color of the polished mineral obsidian," Trigonopterus puncticollis, from the Latin words for small dots (punctum) and neck (collum), and Trigonopterus silaliensis, after the Silali Village where it was found.
As CNET points out, this is not the first time Chewie or other Star Wars characters have inspired the names of scientific discoveries. Starwars.com shared a list last year, which included a Greedo fish, a Han Solo trilobite, and a Yoda acorn worm.
Trigonopterus chewbacca. Image via Zoo Keys // Van Dam, Laufa, Riedel
[h/t CNET]Image via Zoo Keys