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New snail species named after Greta Thunberg for unique reason

Thursday, February 20th 2020, 5:29 pm - It turns out Greta inspires all things, big and small.

A new species of snail has been named after Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The snail was discovered on a research trip in Borneo by a group of scientists and citizen scientists with Taxon Expeditions. The group has written about the discovery in a paper appearing in the Biodiversity Data Journal.

Scientists chose the name "Craspedotropis gretathunbergae" because the snail is sensitive to the effects of climate change -- particularly, drought, extreme temperatures, and deforestation.

Researchers say they reached out to Thunberg through mutual contacts and learned she would be "delighted" to have a snail named after her.

"Naming this snail after Greta Thunberg is our way of acknowledging that her generation will be responsible for fixing problems that they did not create," said J.P. Lim, who found the first specimen of the species, in a statement.

"And it's a promise that people from all generations will join her to help."

Craspedotropis gretathunbergae  CREDIT Taxon Expeditions A photo of Craspedotropis gretathunbergae. Courtesy: Taxon Expeditions. CC-BY 4.0

THE 'GRETA EFFECT'

This isn't the first species to be named after Thunberg. In November 2019, researchers called a beetle Nelloptodes gretae in her honour.

Dr. Max Barclay, a senior curator at London's Natural History Museum, said the tribute was a nod to Thunberg's climate activism.

"What we're trying to do is to increase awareness of the importance of natural habitats and the creatures that live in them, so that hopefully future generations will protect them and care about them more than we have," he told Reuters.

PERSON OF THE YEAR

In December, Thunberg was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2019.

The 16-year-old from Sweden has quickly become a symbol for climate change and environmental activism after spending much of the year speaking at international conferences, leading climate protests, and raising awareness about the dangerous consequences of human-caused climate change.

Her activism started in 2018 when she began protesting outside of the Swedish Parliament on Fridays instead of going to school. She sat next to the building holding a hand-painted sign that read “skolstrejk för klimatet,” which translates to “School strike for the climate,” which is now an internationally recognized slogan that has been translated into dozens of languages.

With files from Isabella O'Malley

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