A team of forensic archaeologists and paleontologists, excavating within the corporate offices of data collection company infoUSA (NASDAQ:IUSA) in Omaha, Nebraska, reported a "groundbreaking" discovery yesterday.

While searching for evidence of the existence of a "missing link" between two species, known by their common names as "good corporate governance" and "best interests of the shareholders," the paleontologists stumbled upon one of the few examples native to the Western Hemisphere -- the mythical "board of directors with a backbone." Due to the rarity of the researchers' find, however, they have not yet come up with a name for it, temporarily calling it simply "Species X."

While it's never easy to determine precise historical facts from the fossil record, the archaeologists have formed a theory of how Species X evolved in Omaha (a city also believed to be home to an ancestor of "good corporate governance" -- the nearly extinct species Buffettus Warrenus.)

It seems that some time prior to the discovery, infoUSA had been hunting a smaller prey by the name of Digital Impact. infoUSA was robbed of its kill, however, by larger carnivore Acxiom (NASDAQ:ACXM), which is an endangered species in its own right. At a certain point, weak with hunger and appearing vulnerable, infoUSA realized that instead of being the hunter, it, too had become the prey of a new form of mammal. Man had arrived.

Armed with a shell company and a sharpened $11.75-per-share buyout offer, this man, Vin Gupta (species: CEOusOpportunisticus), stalked infoUSA for over two months. Finally, infoUSA was backed into a corner with no escape. None of the larger carnivores in the area had arrived to frighten off infoUSA's assailant. Reed Elsevier (NYSE:ENL) and Thomson (NYSE:TOC) both seemed otherwise engaged and were nowhere on the scene, and Acxiom was still digesting its previously mentioned scavenged meal.

But when Vin Gupta finally leapt for the jugular, infoUSA discovered something wonderful -- it had an organic defense mechanism: its "board of directors." While scientists and financial analysts maintain that most corporations still retain this organ, it should be noted that in most cases, it is completely vestigial -- serving no useful purpose.

In the case of infoUSA, however, the board of directors reflexively stiffened its spine and, turning its back on Vin Gupta's buyout offer, warded off the predatory attack.

Wire reports that gene researchers at Genentech (NYSE:DNA) and Human Genome Sciences (NASDAQ:HGSI) are competing to be the first to reactivate the useful functions of the "board of directors" gene could not be confirmed by press time.

Further fossilized Foolishness:

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.