Fish named after Richard Dawkins

July 16th, 2012 - 7:23 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Sri Lanka, July 16 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A new type of fresh water fish has been identified in South Asia. Sri Lankan scientists who classified the creature have named it after famous evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

The genus fresh water fish has nine species. The genus has been named Dawkinsia. The lead researcher of the scientists Rohan Pethiyagoda announced the decision to the Associated Press.

Rohan told AP that the decision to name the creature after Dawkins may be due more to his atheistic beliefs than on any of his scientific works. He said that, “Richard Dawkins has through his writings helped us understand that the universe is far more beautiful and awe-inspiring than any religion has imagined. We hope that Dawkinsia will serve as a reminder of the elegance and simplicity of evolution, the only rational explanation there is for the unimaginable diversity of life on Earth”

The scientists say they studied the creature for several years. They were able to come up with the genus reclassification after completion of eight-year study of the overall anatomy and DNA structure of the Puntius species.

The male Dawkinsia have distinctive filaments similar to the tail of peacocks. Scientists believe that it is used to attract females and also serves as a way to defend the creature against predators.

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