Britain's £200m polar research ship is unlikely to be christened RRS Boaty McBoatface, although a raft of other similar names have sprung up in unlikely tributes. In Australia, trainer Bjorn Baker has given a two-year-old gelding the name Horsey McHorseface. The race horse is co-owned by Baker and Joe Rosetti, whose racing manager Joe Bruce told CNN: "We had a laugh about it in the office and thought, 'hey, why not'. Any publicity is good publicity.

"He's got as good a chance as any to make it and we'd absolutely love to win with him on a big day. It would be a)hilarious and b) great for the owners."

Other homages paid to Boaty McBoatface include a train driver cheekily amusing London passengers by renaming his train Trainy McTrainface. TV broadcaster Evan Davis also joined in the name game by signing off the BBC2 news programme as Newsy McNewsnight.

Jo Johnson, the science minister, said that ministers were unlikely to endorse the result. He told the Daily Telegraph: "You won't be surprised to know that we want something that fits the mission and captures the spirit of scientific endeavour. I am grateful to everyone who has participated in the competition."

He added: "The public has come up with some fantastic and very imaginative suggestions [for the name]. We are reviewing all of them. We will come to a decision in due course."

However, the public saw the humorous side of things and rose to the challenge set by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to come up with an "inspirational" title. Among the 7,000 suggestions were Its Bloody Cold Here, What Iceberg, Captain Haddock, Big Shipinnit, Science!!! and Big Metal Floaty Thingy-thing.

Boaty McBoatface won by a huge margin of 124,109 votes, four times more than RRS Poppy-Mai, which came in second place, named after a 16-month-old girl with incurable cancer.

Chief executive of the NERC, Duncan Wingham, will have the final say in the naming of the boat which will be sailing to the Antarctica in 2019 to carry out research on global warming, the melting of polar ice and rising sea levels.