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#Nameyourancestor: Scientists Turn To Twitter To Name Humanity’s Long-Lost Ancestor

This month, Twitter’s good for more than predicting Oscar fan favorites.

Using the hashtag #nameyourancestor, anyone on Twitter can contribute to the crowd-sourced effort to officially name humanity’s newfound furry little ancestor.

A little background: in early February, scientists announced that they’d found our long-lost common ancestor: a tiny, furry creature with a tail that emerged after the dinosaurs disappeared.

It appears that this ancient, rat-sized animal was the grand-mammal of all placentals that came after it. But the scientists that made the discovery did so through data, rather than bones or fossils. So it doesn’t yet have an official Latinate name.

Enter: Twitter.

Right now, the little guy is being referred to as “hypothetical common ancestor.” Totally unacceptable. Dude needs a proper name!

Luckily, New York’s American Museum of Natural History is on it. They’ve teamed up with RadioLab to let anyone on Twitter help pick a name.

You’re invited to contribute to the naming contest by tweeting using the hashtag #nameyourancestor, through March 5.

RadioLab and AMNH and a team of scientists will pick their favorites. Then, everyone gets to vote on their top choice from the final list.

Early entries include Dwight Shrewte, Shrewquille O’Neal, Tooth-billed ratypus, Van Winkle, Shrewby Doo, and Paw.

Any better ideas?

Check out this video about the discovery of the mammal for more info:

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