Scientists in Brazil recently unearthed a new species of spider that they named the "Iandumoema smeagol," a nod to Smeagol, one of the characters from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. However, as Stephen Colbert noted on Friday's Late Show, while these scientists might know a lot about arachnids, they have much to learn about Middle Earth.
Colbert, a Tolkien obsessive, took umbrage with the scientists' decision and launched into a long lecture about why naming a spider after Smeagol is foolish. "They named it Smeagol because it's scary-looking and lives in caves. Okay, that's cute. Got two problems with this," Colbert told his audience before quickly reciting the history of Smeagol, "a kind of friendly Hobbit-like creature" who eventually morphs into Gollum, who is scary-looking and lives in caves. "You should have named the spider Gollum. You don't discover a venomous snake and name it Anakin; you name it Darth Vader."
Colbert's second point is that, if you're going to name a spider after a Lord of the Rings character, then why not name it after the character that is a spider: Shelob. "The last offspring of Ungoliant, whose poison killed the Two Trees and who consumes light and vomits darkness. You know … spiders," the host said, schooling the experts. "I thought you guys were scientists. This is sad."