Living legend and Texas native Willie Nelson has won Grammy Awards, played every venue you could ever imagine, and his a household name and pop culture icon at this point.
And it begs the question… is there anything he doesn’t have or hasn’t accomplished at a spry 90 years old as of this past April?
Apparently, the answer is yes… but it’s not exactly what I could’ve ever imagined.
The Texas native is now the namesake of a new species of grasshopper, called the Melanoplus nelsoni and going by the suggested common name of Nelson’s pouncer, which was discovered in by a research team in Central Texas earlier this summer.
They also named another new species after Texas legend Jerry Jeff Walker called the Melanoplus walkeri.
With this new discovery, we're celebrating #grasshopper diversity AND great music.
According to the Dallas Morning News, team leader Dr. JoVonn Hill, an assistant research professor at Mississippi State University and director of the Mississippi Entomological Museum, says they listened to Texas music while they were there researching, so it felt like the perfect way to honor two of Texas’ finest:
“We’d all be loaded up in the truck. And in Texas, there’s a lot of roads and a lot of time in the car between sites.
So, of course, you bring your music and when you’re in Texas, you gotta listen to Texas music.
I thought it would be a cool way to honor them for their contributions, but also just the joy they brought us.”
The central Texas region is apparently a hotspot for this kind of research, and Dr. Hill poignantly added that they left with a little more Texas in their soul:
“After these last few summers of field studies, just like Mr. Nelson, we, too, have a little Texas in our souls.”
Of course, Willie returned to Austin in the 70’s to essentially reinvent his career in Texas, releasing his iconic Red Headed Stranger album in 1975.
It was recorded it in Garland, a 90-mile drive from his hometown of Abbott, all in the region that these grasshoppers were discovered.
And man, I’d love to hear what Willie thinks about this. Most artists dream about getting a sign in their hometown or something of that nature (no pun intended, but I like it), but I guess this is pretty cool too…