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We're Down to 4 Finalists -- Vote Now to Name Your Ancestor

Get in on the fourth round of ancestral bracket action

Monday, March 25, 2013 - 04:00 PM

Out of over 1,000 potential names for our hypothetical placental ancestor, there are only four (FOUR!) left.

Is there a Cinderella name in this final four? I can't say I know. But you have two days -- TWO DAYS -- to decide which two names make into the final. One of these names will name your oldest known ancestor. 

To vote: Scroll down below the bracket to the survey. Make sure you hit "DONE" so your entry counts. Voting closes Wednesday, March 27, 5PM EDT.

On Monday, April 1, we'll announce the final two names and fate will be decided. But be a part of the action today!


If the survey's giving you guff, you can vote here.


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Comments [39]


i can't BELIEVE i missed the deadline for this round!!!!!!!!!!!!

harakiri, damn it!

i hope you folks voted for Schrewdinger [1st choice] or Grandmammal.
what's so original about Nova?

judging from the little fellow's face Gwendolen or Derek would have been best anyways, but they weren't even listed...

Mar. 30 2013 07:34 AM

Vote for Radiolab!

Mar. 30 2013 12:56 AM

Mancestor is pretty anthropocentric if you ask me, since this clearly is the ancestor of so many other warm blooded milk-bearing creatures.

I'll take Shrewdinger.

Mar. 28 2013 04:15 PM

Has anyone noted the date of the announcement? Sounds like a great April Fool's joke to me!

Mar. 28 2013 03:29 PM

Mancestor? Um..No.

A bit weird.

I don't like any of the ones remaining, but Nova is by far the best.

Mar. 28 2013 02:06 PM

Please, if Nova makes it, vote for Nova!

I have read some of the comments, and some kids entered Nova in honor of their teacher.

I think this is so sweet, not to mention Nova means new, and this creature is a new discovery.

My vote is on Nova!

Mar. 28 2013 02:04 PM
Christopher Van Tuyl from NY


Mar. 28 2013 08:05 AM


Mar. 27 2013 09:46 PM

grandmammal is worthy of being in textbooks.

Mar. 27 2013 05:17 PM

It's a little late to note this, but... Re-read the original article. They're looking for a name that does "what Lucy did for Australopithecus. We need to transform this placenta mammal the way 'King Tut' helped [what's-his-name]." In other words, a familiar first name, a true nickname. Of those chosen to compete, my favorite has been Placentor. Of all the options, it is almost unique in "sounding right," being memorable, not being culture- or anthro- centric and (most of all) applying uniquely to this critter. In a way, we could all be happy. Consider that a woman named "Alice" can also be called "Grandma," "human being" and "homo sapiens," and all are correct. (Except, as our noble ringleaders note, a Latin name in this case is inappropriate.) So the Hypothetical Original Placental Mammal can be Shrewdinger or Nova, aka a grandmammal, who is technically a placentor, and maybe someday a Latin term. But consider more closely. They want "a name that lives somewhere between dog and Fido." So where does that leave us? Not "Mancestor." That's out due to general principal. I'm sorry the author wrote "from whales to bats, to… us" as they did -- it can seem like a progression, but it's actually an array of all placental mammals, so the human-centric "Mancestor" is totally wrong. Not Nova or ; it's analogous to "Alice," not a nickname, and as many have noted, it's so-o-o trite. Not "Shrewdinger." Like Alice, it's a proper name, and could be applied as logically to the original bird. Of the finalists, the one to go with in the next few minutes is the one that is neither Neither "Alice" nor "human being." Neither "Fido" nor "dog." Which of the four is that? "Grandma" ... or rather, "GrandmammaL"! It's memorable, a touch of whimsy, specific to this critter's position in the evolutionary tree, and the type of nickname specified. But pardon me if I continue to think of her as Nova, the Grandmammal, who is a placentor, technically called [a fancy term to be named later].

Mar. 27 2013 04:56 PM

Grandmammal is my vote!

Mar. 27 2013 03:26 PM
Patrick from Swaziland


So brilliant. I think I could ride a wave of smile for like 10 months on a Mancestor win. Just a 10-month giggle.

Mar. 27 2013 03:00 PM

I'm sad placentor didn't make it.

Mar. 27 2013 12:27 PM

Lovin' this march mammal madness energy! You rock guys.

Mar. 27 2013 10:39 AM


Mar. 27 2013 09:09 AM

Nova !

Mar. 27 2013 08:36 AM

I could totally see the shrew as a Nova. It's the perfect name for it. cJ is completely right. NOVA!

Mar. 26 2013 11:27 PM

I cannot express how many times I have clicked Nova. Nova is utter perfection.

Mar. 26 2013 11:26 PM

Schrewdinger is a PERFECT name for it. It has the right amount of seriousness and has the right amount of creativity, this name is definitely gonna win. What kind of name is Nova anyway??!

Mar. 26 2013 11:23 PM

serio? like, schrewdinger. its so obv!

Mar. 26 2013 11:22 PM

Emma is right....1 0 0 p e r c e n t r i g h t !

Mar. 26 2013 11:18 PM

Schrewdinger sounds either way too serious or way too much like a joke

Mar. 26 2013 11:18 PM

I like Schrewdinger. I like Nova. I like Schrewdinger. I like Nova. Agh! I like both of them. Hope they *both* make it next round....Then I'll make my decision.

Mar. 26 2013 11:16 PM

of course Nova is gonna make it next round

Mar. 26 2013 11:15 PM


Mar. 26 2013 11:11 PM

Actually...Nova. Schrewdinger does sound kind of weird for an ancestor. I'm voting for Nova next round...if it makes it next round...

Mar. 26 2013 11:08 PM


Mar. 26 2013 11:06 PM


Mar. 26 2013 11:05 PM

i agree with cJ, i tried imagining the shrew as Schrewdinger. But Nova...I could imagine that...

Mar. 26 2013 11:04 PM

Come on guys! Nova is the obvious choice. Schrewdinger is awesome but I just can't imagine calling our greatest ancestor: Schrewdinger. It just doesn't sound right. Say it out loud. It just doesn't fit when I look at the picture of the shrew. You know what I mean?!

Mar. 26 2013 10:58 PM

I agree with Jo8. I also love the concept of Schrewdinger, but it's kind of long and hard to say. Shouldn't we have a catchy, short name that everyone can remember for such an important animal? For example, Fido or Nemo. P.S. Too bad Furst isn't in the running anymore.

Mar. 26 2013 10:51 PM

All of the names are really great! There have been a lot of comments about, "Nova" being too trite, since there was a character with that name in Planet of the Apes, but I still think it's a pretty nice candidate. Nova means new, and it has a cool ring to it.

Mar. 26 2013 10:37 PM

I had the same thoughts as well. The concept of "Schrewdinger" is brilliant, I agree, but the name itself sounds awful. My point was that Placentor is more pleasing to the ear than Schrewdinger.

Mar. 26 2013 12:37 PM
Lina from Europe

I had the same thought like alfred and therefore voted for Schrewdinger :b. It fits perfect! And to all, who want a 'serious and scientific' name: science is a human made construct and humor belongs to us as well. There are thousends of real scientific names with a somehow strange humor: Beelzebufo ampinga, Cafeteria roenbergensis, Bambiraptor, Bagheera kiplingi, Dracorex hogwartsia... just to name a few.

And beware the Rhinogradentia!

Mar. 26 2013 05:24 AM
alfred from New Haven, CT

I voted against Shrewdinger before I really put any thought into it. Thinking that theoretical physics has nothing to do with evolutionary biology i found the name to be, well, stupid. However reflecting upon Schrodinger's cat which is both dead and alive simultaneously, I do now feel that Shrewdinger would be an appropriate name for our ancestor. Dead yes, but it's basic DNA, alive. Simultaneously.

Mar. 26 2013 01:52 AM

I'm stunned Placentor lost to Schrewdinger. They're all jokes. Placentor is the funniest and could actually pass as anl animal name. Schrewdinger sounds like it would be better suited if it was followed by words like "syndrome" or "law" or in the case of this contest 'Schrewdinger's Folly'. Would you actually rather be related to the Schrewdinger instead of the Placentor? Mancestor is the best remaining name but not nearly as great as Placentor; the others are incredibly boring. If Mancestor should lose, the contest needs to be thrown out and restarted. Sadly, I think my voting has come to an end. You'll always be Placentor to me fuzzy ancestor

Mar. 26 2013 01:10 AM

I want shrewdinger to win it sounds more scientific than the others. The others are a joke but people think this is the ancestor of mammals lets not make it a joke. Last, Nova is way to much planet of the apes.

Mar. 25 2013 10:36 PM
Andrew Ede


Mar. 25 2013 07:16 PM

On the subject of brackets, why don't you guys post a link for the Public Radio Bracket Madness:

Radiolab is presently getting its lunch handed to it by All Things Considered. We must not stand idly by! Siegel, you shall not pass!

Mar. 25 2013 04:25 PM

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