Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had a recently discovered frog named after her. (L. Photo by Ronald Patrick/Getty Images; R. Photo by Konrad Mebert, published with permission.)
Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has officially made it. The teen environmental crusader became the latest famous person to have an animal named after them when a scientific journal announced a new species of frog last week—the Pristimantis gretathunbergae.The frog was discovered in an isolated mountain range in the rainforests of Panama around a decade ago, but was only just officially named.
The announcement came from the Rainforest Trust, who celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2018 by auctioning off the naming rights to some newly discovered species, including the aforementioned Greta Thunberg Rainfrog. The organization did not name the auction winner who chose the name.The frog was originally discovered by two researchers, Abel Batista of Panama, and Konrad Mebert of Switzerland.“The team found the frog on Cerro Chucantí, a sky island surrounded by lowland tropical rainforest in eastern Panama,” the Rainforest Trust wrote in a press release. “Reaching its habitat in the cloud forest required access via horseback through muddy trails, hiking up steep slopes, bypassing two helicopters that crashed decades ago, and camping above the 1000m elevation.”The naming of the frog came alongside the publishing of an article describing the new species in the scientific journal ZooKeys.
Hailing from the Pristimantis genus—one of the most common frog types found throughout Central and South America—the researchers explained in the article that the Greta Thunberg Rainfrog differed from other similar Pristimantis subspecies because of its “unusually prominent black eyes, a contrasting light upper lip, commonly a single conical to spine-like tubercle on the upper eyelid, and a larger head.”But the frog may have a closer connection to Thunberg than just their name. Thunberg, who's known for taking world leaders to task over environmental issues, may need to start helping out her eponymous amphibian. The researchers wrote that the “Cerro Chucantí and the surrounding Maje Mountains are highly threatened by rapid deforestation and replaced by plantations and cattle pastures,” which could affect the newly discovered frog.The researchers went on to explain why connecting the frog with Greta Thunberg was important.
“Greta Thunberg represents the authentic voice that exposes the motivations behind the diplomatic curtain of politicians and business stakeholders. Her voice is essential if we want to revert to and maintain a healthy environment on the planet we all share, and not least, learn to respect its magnificent mega-diversity of life that took millions of years to evolve,” they wrote.The Pristimantis gretathunbergae isn’t the only frog to recently be named after someone in the public eye. Another rainfrog from the Pristimantis genus discovered in Ecuador was named after legendary rock band Led Zeppelin in June. The area where the Pristimantis ledzeppelin hails from is also a threatened eco-region in South America, meaning Greta Thunberg may have more than just her own frog to fight for.