NEW YORK—In a discovery that has greatly expanded the scientific community’s fundamental understanding of oddballs, a team of anthropologists from Columbia University announced Friday the identification of 43 new species of weirdo residing within the New York City subway system.
The findings, set to be published in the July issue of Science, are the culmination of 10 years of research spent observing weirdos in their natural habitat of subway cars and platforms throughout the New York metropolitan area, where the peculiar creatures groom themselves, feign seizures, nibble on raw kale, scratch the same word exactly 63 times into train car windows, masturbate through their pants, and scream at no one in particular.
“Studying these newly classified weirdos has significantly broadened our knowledge of the subway system’s vast diversity of lowlife,” said lead researcher Anita DePalio, noting that scientists were now actively investigating how the new species relate to the 400 bizarre and outlandish varieties previously observed and categorized in the broader public transit environment. “For example, our team found whole populations of misfits whose elaborate locomotion involves traveling from car to car while peddling vials of scented oils, as well as a new variety of clod who drops peanut shells all over the floor of the 5 train. We even discovered a fascinating subspecies of homeless drunk that not only dances in the absence of music, but also ritualistically urinates off the platform.”
“There’s a whole thriving ecosystem down there, and we’re only beginning to understand how freakish it truly is,” DePalio added.
Among the subway weirdos the team encountered, researchers identified several new species within the scuzzbag genus. According to DePalio, scientists catalogued a particularly filthy organism capable of sitting in the corner of a train car for dozens of stops while re-dressing its dirty leg bandages; a new member of the unkempt riffraff family notable for its pronounced outer layer of grime and for clipping its toenails on the platform benches; and an invasive species that resembles the Mediterranean agitated mumbler, but is distinguished by beads of glistening sweat on its neck, thick back hair, and frequent vocalizations of Armenian profanities.
DePalio said that in addition to the common tristate-area lunkhead, the team identified two red-faced, lumbering migratory weirdo varieties, which researchers have deemed the Southern lout and the Midwestern large-mouthed numbskull.
Researchers also observed a host of strange new nocturnal creeps by tracking their movements between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. The anthropologists were reportedly able to monitor a particularly rare sleazoid that only appears on the D train after 11:30 p.m. every night and which is characterized by shrill whistles, obnoxious catcalls, and physically attaching themselves to other members of their species that they’ve obviously paid to mate with.
“We had only heard rumors from natives about a ponytailed howling slimeball on the NQR line, but until our early-morning observations aboard a Queens-bound local train, we had never seen one up close,” said DePalio, who noted that a single pre-dawn observation at the Canal Street station revealed three previously undocumented types of scumbucket. “We can confirm that this particular species is far more irritating and despicable than originally thought.”
“Additionally, on that same line we observed for the first time on record an elderly Eastern European kook holding hands with a mute, almost completely hairless young lame-brain,” he added. “Their peculiar symbiotic relationship is truly remarkable.”
DePalio suggested that the reason some weirdo species had not been identified in the past was because they emerge only briefly to forage for food, money, or anonymous sex. For instance, the intoxicated transvestite, with its vibrant leopard-print coat and pink feather plumage, is said to only be observable for a short period after the clubs in Chelsea have closed, while the Thai grandmother in a sun visor selling pirated DVDs is visible for just seconds at a time.
The anthropologist confirmed that both weirdos, however, tend to scurry off immediately upon being identified.
“The breadth of the weirdo spectrum is particularly fascinating, ranging from the more reclusive species like the female slumped-over wheezer to the more social creatures like the thick-neck Jersey galoots,” DePalio said. “Somewhere in between you have the weepers, whose pitiful wails can be heard throughout an entire train car—often several of them together, bleating, whimpering, and sobbing about that bitch at work or just crying out for others to get the fuck away from them.”
DePalio acknowledged that, despite advances in weirdo taxonomy, the scientific community had only scratched the surface in its understanding of the subway’s rich biodiversity of wackos, sickos, and nutjobs.
“Just recently we learned that the weirdos who do backflips while collecting money in a hat are actually distant cousins of the weirdos selling bags of M&Ms from a large box,” DePalio said. “Still, there’s so many unanswered questions, such as why certain weirdos show up to the same place every morning before noon devouring chicken schwarma from a Styrofoam container, while others are only seen in a horizontal position across three seats, and some bring their offspring onto a train and let them roam free.”
“And unfortunately, our study found that the roller-skating, boom-box-carrying screwball, which had been so plentiful years ago, is now all but extinct,” DePalio continued.