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New species of microbes named after Rush

Rush in 1979
Rush in 1979 (Image credit: Getty)

Three new species of microbe found in the guts of termites have been named after the members of Rush.

Researchers at the University Of British Columbia have decided to call the trio P. leei, P. lifesoni and P. pearti after bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart, due to the organisms’ “long hair” and “rhythmic wriggling.”

Microbiologist and author of the paper describing the new species, Patrick Keeling says: “A Spanish postdoc, Javier del Campo, asked me to recommend some good Canadian music, and I suggested he listen to Rush.

“He came back to me and said, ‘Those microbes we’re finding have long hair like the guys on the album 2112!’”

The microbes are covered with flagella – long threads that cells use to move around, with each species having more than 10,000 flagella “giving them flowing hair.”

They are said to bob and sway in microscopic dances, which led the researchers to name them after the Canadian trio.

The organism named after Peart is said to contain “a rotating intracellular structure never seen before” which researchers have named ‘rotatosome.’

Keeling adds: “We have looked at a lot of crazy cells in my lab, and none of us has ever seen anything like this.”

To mark the discovery, the university have released a video document the discoveries, accompanied by Rush classic YYZ. Watch it below.

Earlier this year, a species of pistol shrimp was named Synalpheus pinkfloydi after Pink Floyd by Arthur Anker of the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, Kristin Hultgren of Seattle University and Sammy De Grave of Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

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Scott looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.