Category Archives: Greek roots

The seahorse in your brain

I knew about the hippocampus in the brain, but until I started reading The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes, by Christopher Wills (find in library), I didn’t know that seahorses are in the genus Hippocampus. One of the things I’m enjoying about Wills’s excellent book is that he usually lists the scientific names of the… Read More »

On poppies, poop, and newborn babies

In honor of the recent birth of my second grandchild, I thought I’d look at some words related to newborns. Here are a few with interesting stories. Fontanelle: A fontanelle is a gap in the skull of a newborn where the bones haven’t yet grown together. A newborn’s head features several fontanelles in various locations, but the big,… Read More »

Armies of finger bones

I recently finished an editing assignment that had to do with the bones and musculature of the hand. The bones of the fingers (and the toes, as it turns out) are collectively called the phalanges. They’re individually identified by which finger or toe they belong to and by their position. The proximal phalanx is the first one out… Read More »

Woolly bears and northern stars

Woolly worm season is upon us. The other day I spotted one of these fuzzy caterpillars behind my car, and I moved it to avoid backing over it. Woolly worms were one of the many surprises that awaited me when I moved to Indiana. The first one I ever saw was hitching a ride on a letter I… Read More »

The noble genus Vitis

The wine harvest is nearing its end, so this seems like a good time to look at the different species of grapes that are used for wine. When I first began to take a serious interest in wine, the differences between varieties and species were very fuzzy to me. I’m still sorting out the varieties, most of which… Read More »

Geological epochs and regrettable barbarisms

The other day I was poking around online reading about rocks and dinosaurs when I should have been working, and I discovered that what I knew as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (KT) boundary is also called the Cretaceous–Paleogene (KP) boundary. (K is used instead of C to make it easier to pronounce.) You may be familiar with this boundary as… Read More »

Areology

Given that the Mars rover Curiosity is in the news (it did not find methane in the planet’s atmosphere, contrary to earlier reports), this seems like a good time to pass along something I learned this week about the geological periods on Mars. Mars is currently not a very happening place, geologically speaking—at least in terms of big… Read More »