The ancient Greeks would shout ‘Eureka’ to proclaim their delight at a new discovery. But what does a modern day scientist say to express that Eureka moment?
Channelling Dr Sheldon Cooper from TV’s Big Bang Theory, ‘bazinga’ was what came to mind when Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin and her colleague, Peter Davie from the Queensland Museum, understood the discovery of a small jellyfish off the Australian coast represented a new species.
“Not only had we found a new species, but we also realised it belonged to a new genus and even a new sub-order of rhizostome jellyfish,” says Lisa-ann.
“It’s pretty rare to discover a new sub-order. This hasn’t happened for well over a hundred years.”
Duly named Bazinga rieki, the wee, grape-sized jellyfish measure just 15 to 20 millimetres at maturity, perhaps mistaken in the past for a juvenile of its much larger cousins.
In a paper published in the Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Lisa-ann explains how the name is not only a reference to Sheldon’s favourite catch cry.
“The name bazinga also refers to a seven-string harp and the straight radial canals of this new species are reminiscent of such strings.”