Gary Larson, the beloved cartoonist behind the picturesque single panel Father Side is today popular in geekic and scientific circles. So popular is the fact that jokes and references from his collections often go into scientific linguistics and discourse.
An example of this trend comes from a 1
982 panel he wrote in which a cavalry professor gives a lecture to his cavalry about the dangers of a stegosaurus tail and explains, "Now this end is called Thagomizer after the late Thag Simmons." The term was retrieved by Ken Carpenter, a paleontologist who worked at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, who used the term to describe a fossil at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Annual Meeting 1993. Since then, it has taken hold of the informal but most widely used the name of the nails of a stegosaurus tail and used by the Smithsonian Institution, the BBC Documentary Series Planet Dinosaur and in other museums and bodies of work – it solidifies in the dictionary and immortal poor Thag Simmons.