About Attenboroughology

Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Frederick Attenborough (/ˈætənbrə/; born 8 May 1926)[2][3] is an English broadcaster and natural historian. He is best known for writing and presenting, in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit, the nine natural history documentary series forming the Life collection that together constitute a comprehensive survey of animal and plant life on Earth. He is a former senior manager at the BBC, having served as controller of BBC Two and director of programming for BBC Television in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the only person to have won BAFTAs for programmes in each of black and white, colour, HD, 3D and 4K.[4][5] In 2018 and 2019, he received Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Narrator.[6][7]

Attenborough is widely considered a national treasure in the UK, although he himself does not like the term.[8][9][10] In 2002, he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide poll for the BBC.[11] He is the younger brother of the director, producer and actor Richard Attenborough, Baron Attenborough,[12] and older brother of the motor executive John Attenborough.

Species named in Attenborough's honour

At least 20 species and genera, both living and extinct, have been named in Attenborough's honour.[86] Plants named after him include an alpine hawkweed (Hieracium attenboroughianum) discovered in the Brecon Beacons,[87] a species of Ecuadorian flowering tree (Blakea attenboroughi), one of the world's largest-pitchered carnivorous plants (Nepenthes attenboroughii), along with a genus of flowering plants (Sirdavidia).[88] Arthropods named after Attenborough include a butterfly, Attenborough's black-eyed satyr (Euptychia attenboroughi),[89] a dragonfly, Attenborough's pintail (Acisoma attenboroughi),[90] a millimetre-long goblin spider (Prethopalpus attenboroughi), an Indonesian flightless weevil (Trigonopterus attenboroughi),[91][92][93] a Madagascan ghost shrimp (Ctenocheloides attenboroughi), and a soil snail (Palaina attenboroughi).[94] The Monogenean Cichlidogyrus attenboroughi, a parasite from a deep-sea fish in the Lake Tanganyika, is probably the only parasite species named after him.[95] Vertebrates have also been named after Attenborough, including a Namibian lizard (Platysaurus attenboroughi),[96] a bird (Polioptila attenboroughi),[96] a Peruvian frog (Pristimantis attenboroughi),[97] a Madagascan stump-toed frog (Stumpffia davidattenboroughi),[98] and one of only four species of long-beaked echidna (Zaglossus attenboroughi).[99]

In 1993, after discovering that the Mesozoic reptile Plesiosaurus conybeari did not belong to the genus Plesiosaurus, the palaeontologist Robert Bakker renamed the species Attenborosaurus conybeari.[100] A fossilised armoured fish discovered in Western Australia in 2008 was named Materpiscis attenboroughi, after Attenborough had filmed at the site and highlighted its scientific importance in Life on Earth.[101] The Materpiscis fossil is believed to be the earliest organism capable of internal fertilisation. A miniature marsupial lion, Microleo attenboroughi, was named in his honour in 2016.[102][103] The fossil grasshopper Electrotettix attenboroughi was named after Attenborough. In March 2017, a 430 million year old tiny crustacean was named after him. Called Cascolus ravitis, the first word is a Latin translation of the root meaning of "Attenborough", and the second is based on a description of him in Latin.[104][105] In July 2017, the Caribbean bat Myotis attenboroughi was named after him.[106] A new species of fan-throated lizard from coastal Kerala in southern India was named Sitana attenboroughii in his honour when it was described in 2018.[107]

In 2018, a new species of phytoplankton, Syracosphaera azureaplaneta, was named to honour The Blue Planet, the TV documentary presented by Attenborough, and to recognise his contribution to promoting understanding of the oceanic environment.[108] The same year, Attenborough was also commemorated in the name of the scarab beetle Sylvicanthon attenboroughi.[109]