When we think about scientists discovering new species, we usually imagine someone wandering through heretofore unexplored stretches of Amazon wilderness and finally stumbling across some new kind of spider monkey or maybe bigfoot. But the world is full of creatures previously unknown to science, and they turn up in the most ridiculous of places ...
6A New Sea Urchin Discovered on eBay
Dr. Simon Coppard, a zoologist from the Natural History Museum in London, owes his fame to having discovered a new species of sea urchin (they have different standards of fame in the field of zoology). But he didn't do it after trawling new frontiers along the briny ocean floor in a tiny submarine -- he did it after screwing around on eBay for a few hours and stumbling across someone selling it for under 10 bucks.
Ebay via Guardian
If it had been $12, the sea urchin would've stayed unknown forever.
Apparently, sea urchins are a hot commodity online, and the recession-proof urchin industry is booming -- so much so that taxonomists can keep their animal classifying skills sharp by just sitting back and identifying different types of urchin specimens for sale. People buy them for their cool colors, and the specimen Coppard stumbled across was brighter than most, looking like something a starfish would use in lieu of a Fleshlight.
After confirming that he had indeed come across a new species, Coppard named it Coelopleurus exquisitus for its amazing colors. And although he picked it up at a bargain, the name he gave to it raised the price of future specimens on eBay to around $138. So for you people who are sitting on stockpiles of Coelopleurus exquisitus, you're about to make one of the world's most improbable fortunes.
D Traver Adolphus
Wait, isn't this what the Flintstones used as money?