Sunday, January 1

Natural History Names

Zuni Pueblo, 1873 byTimothy H. O'Sullivan

Jotted down between bug inspecting and dinosaur petting, these names were found on a recent  trip to the Natural History Museum — 

Mimus — from the scientific name of the Northern Mockingbird
Olivella — a name-smush I can totally see working, a combination of Olive + Ella, I found this in a collection of seashells. It's also the name of a village in Catalonia
Ovis — from the scientific name of the Dall's sheep
Semele — another one taken from the shell section, Semele was also the mother of Dionysus in Greek mythology. The name is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "earth"
Skolai — the name of an alpine pass in the Wrangell Mountains of southeastern Alaska
Velero — taken from a species of sea snail, this is the Spanish word for "sailboat"
Violacea — shells again. This one was named for its resemblance to violet flowers
Zuni — from the name of a tribe of Pueblo Native Americans. This particular exhibit focused on their beautiful, netsuke-like fetish carvings


  1. I can definitely see Olivella working, and Zuni has a zippy charm.

  2. As a general rule, I love most Z- names. They have a certain charm to them that I just can't resist. Zuni is no exception to this.

  3. ovis just means "sheep" in Latin :).

    Very much like Velero, and I've long thought Semele is very beautiful.

  4. Zuni is great - I can see most people liking this one.

  5. All of these are really cool. I especially like Mimus (for a boy) and Violacea (for a girl)

  6. Zuni, Mimus, & Olivella are cool.


Names are all opinion -- share yours.