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Museum Asking Public’s Help In Naming Worm

September 24, 2011

The Natural History Museum in London said on Friday that it is seeking the public’s advice in naming a new species of sea-dwelling worm.

The unnamed worms are known as annelids and the species spends its time about 6,500 feet below the surface of the sea in Antarctic.

“Our goal is to show that taxonomy, the scientific discipline of naming new species, is interesting, fun and crucial to the advancement of science,” zoologist at the National History Museum, Adrian Glover, said in a press release.

The museum has laid out rules for the public to follow when naming the worm-species, including having a name for the genus and one specific to the species.  The name must also be Greek or Latin.

Scientists look at things like shape, patterns or where an organism lives for inspiration when naming a new species.

The deep-sea worms are a diverse group that scientists believe perform vital recycling of nutrients on the seabed in the Antarctic.

The deep sea is the largest and least explored ecosystem on the planet.  The worms are among several thousands of new marine species named each year by marine taxonomists.

The unnamed worms were found in a variety of habitats in the sea, including hydrothermal vents, rotting carcasses of dead whales and areas of pollution.

Image Caption: Unnamed sea-dwelling worm (Credit: National History Musem London)

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