Mandela's unusual tributes: bird, nuclear particle named after him

Mandela 'serious, but stable'
Former South African president and Nobel peace prize laureate Nelson Mandela joins guests at his home in Cape Town, on August 20, 2008 to celebrate his 90th birthday year, at an event organised by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation (RODGER BOSCH

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Story highlights

  • A woodpecker is officially named Australopicus nelsonmandelai
  • 'Paravanda Nelson Mandela" in Singapore is also named after the former president
  • In Britain, a nuclear particle is also named after him in Britain

Woodpecker. Spider species. Nuclear particle. For anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, the varied list of namesakes keeps growing.

In July last year, just in time for his birthday, scientists named a prehistoric woodpecker after him, adding to the many tributes for South Africa's first black president.

The woodpecker, officially named Australopicus nelsonmandelai, was unveiled by scientists at a fossil site on the nation's southwest coast.

Thousands of miles away, Mandela's name is on yet another unusual item: an apartment in a British sitcom.

The apartment in "Only Fools and Horses" was called Nelson Mandela house. The main characters in the sitcom, which was broadcast for decades until early 2000s, lived in the house.

Years earlier, a British university named a nuclear particle after him. The 'Mandela particle' got its honor in 1973 from the physics institute at Leeds University.

Prayers for Mandela in South Africa
Prayers for Mandela in South Africa

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Spokesperson: Celebrate Mandela's life
Spokesperson: Celebrate Mandela's life

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And the list goes on. And on, according to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

There's the orchid, 'Paravanda Nelson Mandela," named after him during his 1997 visit to the botanical garden in Singapore.

And the "Escape from Robin Island" computer game with him as a hero who breaks away from the island to free his daughter.

In Argentina, there was a racing horse named "Mandela" in 1971, when he was languishing in prison after a life sentence for sabotage.

Mandela was sentenced to 27 years in 1964 for his fight against the apartheid government in South Africa. The frail icon has battled health issues in recent months, and is hospitalized in serious but stable condition in Pretoria for a recurring lung infection.

With advancing age and bouts of illness, Mandela has retreated to a quiet life, but still retains a special place in the nation's consciousness.

But as he has faded away from public life, the accolades kept coming.

Worldwide, there are buildings, streets, parks, postage stamps, even flowers named after him.

READ: Mandela's friend says 'it's time to let him go'