Monday, February 27, 2023

Hyloscirtus tolkieni

Hyloscirtus tolkieni

A newfound species of stream fog has been discovered on the slopes of the Andes mountains in Ecuador by researchers Juan C. Sánchez-Nivicela, José M. Falcón-Reibán, and Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia. Interesting news certainly, but why is this on a Fantasy blog. Because the trio of scientists are also devout fans of a certain trilogy entitled The Lord of the Rings, and have named the critter Hyloscirtus tolkieni.

"'It would seem that it lives in a universe of fantasies, like those created by Tolkien,' the researchers wrote in a news release. 'The truth is that the tropical Andes are magical ecosystems where some of the most wonderful species of flora, funga, and fauna in the world are present.'...After immersing himself in the works of Tolkien, particularly The Lord of the Rings, Sánchez-Nivicela now sees parallels between the author’s fantastical creations and the mystical jungle world he traverses while on field expeditions." 

This parallelism is owed to the fact that protecting, maintaining, the world's natural beauty is a key theme in The Lord of the Rings, as evidenced in places such as The Shire, Rivendell, Fangorn Forest, Lothlórien, and Ithilien. Treebeard and the other Ents are called Shepherds of the Trees, guarding the Fangorn. Faramir and his  Rangers of Ithilien protect, naturally, Ithilien. While Elrond and Galadriel used their Rings to "ward off the decays of time and postpone the weariness of the world" in Rivendell and Lothlórien. As to The Shire, well, the Hobbits protect and maintain their own. Another parallel which factored Sánchez-Nivicela’s decision to name the new frog after Tolkien lies in the fact that, much as the natural beauty of Middle-earth was threatened by the greed and industrialization of Sauron and Saruman, so is our world's threatened by similar is less supernatural forces. On that note, I shall let the good researchers have the last word.

“In a stream in the forest there lived a Hyloscirtus. Not a nasty, dirty stream, with spoor of contamination and a muddy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy stream with nothing in it to perch on or to eat: it was a Hyloscirtus-stream, and that means environmental quality.”

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