You’ve probably heard of chicken of the sea, but one new crustacean species could hardly be compared to fowl known for getting their feathers so easily ruffled.
In fact, the scientists who discovered a new species of crayfish decided to give it a much more heroic title, by naming it after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The Washington Post reported that the name had been given to the animal by German independent researcher Christian Lukhaup, who is also a self-described fan of Edward Snowden:
“After describing a couple new species, I thought about naming one after Edward Snowden because he really impressed me… We have so many species named after other famous people who probably don’t do so much for humanity. I wanted to show support for Edward Snowden. I think what he did is something very special.”
Unlike Snowden who, following a massive leak of classified NSA files in 2013, has had to remain in hiding, the newly recognized species of crayfish Cherax snowden has apparently decreased in numbers over the course of the last few years for simpler reasons. Collectors throughout West Papau, Indonesia have been involved in gathering the crayfish for export to Europe and North America as additions — albeit colorful ones — in household fishtanks.
Experts have responded with concerns over the exportation practices, stating that captive breeding programs may have to be instituted if the animal’s numbers continue to drop in the wild.
Many, including Lukhaup, have lauded Edward Snowden’s actions as being heroic. However, the general attitudes expressed by the U.S. intelligence community have been that the release of the NSA classified documents Snowden spearheaded were, by definition, traitorous acts, and he was subsequently charged with violation of the Espionage Act, as well as theft of government property, in 2013.
In addition to the controversy surrounding the release of the documents, which shed light on the extent of surveillance activities being carried out by the NSA, many had maintained hope that the documents might contain information pertaining to other clandestine subjects, namely secret UFO files. Incidentally, in 2014 UFO images did actually appear within the leaked documents, contained within a British intelligence agency GCHQ Powerpoint presentation titled, “The Art of Deception: Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations“. However, the context in which the images were presented has been deemed questionable by many analysts, as little wording accompanies the images to indicate context or relevance.
The Cherax snowden is the only newly discovered species to be named after Snowden to-date, who currently is residing in Russia under asylum.
Earlier this year, a known crustacean species with an equally intriguing name, a variety of the Yeti crab, was found to be capable of growing its own food. Previously, nearly coinciding with Snowden’s release of classified NSA documents in 2013, the first venomous species was discovered of nearly 70,000 known crustaceans.