The official Linnean designation for our species is Homo sapiens, which translates to "wise man." It's kind of an inside joke, as a quick scan of the front page of the newspaper whatever day that you read this will probably show. And if scientists have a tough time coming up with an accurate name for ourselves, it's no surprise that classification of organisms in general can be a dicey proposition.
Take, for instance, the strange creature found by a four-year-old girl in Hopkinton, Mass., in a swimming pool in the middle of April. As the local paper, the MetroWest Daily News, described the situation in a headline, "Girl finds two-headed toad in Hopkinton." The accompanying article offered a detailed description of the marvelous sideshow attraction: "The two toads are stacked on top of each other.... The toad on top is smaller and a lighter color. Its front legs have grown into the back of the larger frog, and it appears the bottom jaw may be connected to the larger toad's head."
This article was originally published with the title Heads Up.