In a major study published last month, scientists came up with a creature they believe was the evolutionary precursor of all placental mammals -- the biggest group of mammals, and the one that includes humans, horses, whales, bats, and many more.
But because the bug-eating, shrew-like creature is a hypothetical computer simulation, rather than found via fossil specimen, it can't receive a scientific name. And -- as this writer can say from experience -- "earliest common placental mammal ancestor" doesn't really dance off the tongue.
So here's your chance to name grandaddy shrew.
They're asking readers and listeners to tweet their naming suggestions to @Radiolab or @AMNH with the hashtag #nameyourancestor, or email them into firstname.lastname@example.org. (Include us with your suggestions and we'll retweet the ones we like too -- @Star_foreign and @katecallen).
The deadline for submissions is March 5. Here are some of our favourites so far:
#nameyourancestor lady gaga— Michael Spoon (@MichalisSpoon) March 1, 2013
Punky Schrewster #nameyourancestor— Cobalt Sixty (@403Verboten) February 28, 2013
— Wyndham Juneau (@_wyndham) March 1, 2013
And everything from Buzzfeed:
Kate Allen is the Star's science and technology reporter. Find her on Twitter at @katecallen.