Scientists name three new species of microbe after the members of Rush, citing “long hair” and “rhythmic wiggling”

Welcome to science, P. leei, P. lifesoni, and P. pearti


It’s hard not to move to the fast, furious sounds of Rush, the inimitable band behind eccentric hits like “Natural Science” and “Tom Sawyer”. Just ask these three new species of microbe, who were named after the Canadian trio due both to their long hair and what scientists describe as a “rhythmic wiggling.”

Patrick Keeling, a University of British Columbia microbiologist, helped find these new microbes in the guts of an unexplored species of termite, and was struck by the abundance and length of their flagella. Flagella are the threads cells use to move around, and those found on the microbes number more than 10,000, which is a lot in comparison to their microscopic brethren.

Read more:
— Rush’s 2112 Turns 40: A Battle Against Conformity
— Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson forming new project as LeeLifeson 
— Rolling Stone Releases List of the 100 Greatest Drummers, and Neil Peart is Not No. 1 

“A Spanish postdoc, Javier del Campo, asked me to recommend some good Canadian music, and I suggested he listen to Rush,” says Keeling in article on the University of British Columbia website. “He came back to me and said ‘Those microbes we’re finding have long hair like the guys on the album 2112!’”

As such, the team named the new Pseudotrichonympha species P. leei, P. lifesoni, and P. pearti after the band’s core trio of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. As is the case with many Rush fans, the scientists are especially fascinated with the microbe associated with Peart. They say the microbe has an “unusual rotating intracellular structure of unknown function.” Neat!

“We have looked at a lot of crazy cells in my lab, and none of us has ever seen anything like this,” Keeling says. Well, many would offer a similar sentiment after hearing Rush for the first time, so this is truly is a match made in microbiological heaven.