Posts tagged trivia

Uvulas!

We all know about our uvula - or at least the palatine uvula - the one in our mouths. This hanging mass at the back of our mouth is formed from the soft palate, and is involved in the gag reflex and some languages (but not English). But did you know that we have more uvulas than just that?

Uvula means “little grape"in Latin, and a swollen uvula is called "ūvawhich is simply “grape”. Hanging grapes everywhere!

Everyone also has a cerebellar uvula, which is right next to the cerebellar tonsils (more tonsils!) and at the end of the cerebeallar vermis (“cerebellar worm”). This area of the brain is involved in posture and locomotion.

In addition to both of those, males also have a uvula of the urinary bladder. This is less of a “little grape”, and more of a slight elevation in the internal urethral orifice, caused by the prostate.

Anatomy: Descriptive and Surgical. Gray’s Anatomy, 1918.
[illustration source]

Do you have any facts on green eyes? please,my birthday is coming up soon and it would be great to know! Thank you :> — Asked by foreverinadream357

That’s…sort of a weird reason to ask? But okay, whatever.

Green eyes are a lot like blue or grey eyes - the color doesn’t come from simple pigmentation of the iris, like it does in brown eyes.

Green eyes come from a light brown or amber pigmentation of the iris stroma (right underneath the iris pigmentary layer), combined with the blue tone imparted by the Rayleigh effect (i.e. the elastic polarization of photons, and why the sky is blue).

So there’s no true “green” involved, just light brown/dark yellow or amber pigmentation combined with scattered light above it.

In Iceland, 87% of people have either blue or green eyes, and in European Americans, about 16% of people recent (within 2 generations) German or Irish ancestry have strongly green eyes. It’s also present in most other European and Central Asian genotypes, though not as common.

My cats also have green eyes.

Look at my cats.

Cats cats cats.

…and eyeballs.

The human brain, its nervous projections, layers, and cortical blood vessels

Though we’re probably subconsciously aware of our brains on a day-to-day basis, most of us generally don’t pay much direct attention to them. Of course, lots can go wrong in the mind, resulting in mental illness, physical illness, and in the worst cases, death.

But aside from everything that can go wrong in the brain, did you know that the mind, despite being only 2% of the average body mass, uses almost 25% of the oxygen we consume, and over 70% of the glucose we ingest? It’s a tiny organ, but it manages almost everything outside of the parasympathetic nervous system, and it requires a relatively high energy input (especially compared to other organs in the body) just to function on a daily basis.

The cells in the brain require, on average, twice as much pure energy as other cells, just to function, and when you’re focusing hard on a big paper, or trying to brainstorm and be creative, your mind is in overdrive! Even if you haven’t moved in two hours, if you’re focusing hard on an essay and coming up with lots of great ideas, your lunch isn’t going to last long, with what your brain is demanding.

Since it’s not a muscle, and you’re not necessarily doing anything physical when you think, it can be hard to believe that the brain needs so much energy.

However, the cerebellum, and especially the frontal and prefrontal cortices (where our personality and “creative minds” exist, for the most part) demand more energy than our stomachs, livers, spleens, and kidneys combined! Depending on how your brain is wired, that fact can make it extremely exhausting to deal with other people, as you’re engaging your prefrontal cortex to a high degree. Thinking hard and being creative can sap your energy, too - that’s why I always had an apple or banana to eat midway through my morning courses!

Tabulae Anatomicae. Bartholomeo Eustachi, 1570 (Published 1783).

The Anatomy of the Brain, Explained in a Series of Engravings. Charles Bell, 1803.

Top left: Hippocampus sp. internal structure
Top right: Short-snouted seahorse - Hippocampus hippocampus
Center: 1. Syngnathus hippocampus [now Hippocampus hippocampus]
2. Pegasus draconis [now Eurypegasus draconis] - the Little Dragonfish (*unrelated to Syngnathidae family*)
3. Syngnathus pelagicus - the Sargassum pipefish
Bottom: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus -the Weedy Sea Dragon

Despite their remarkable appearance, seahorses are true ray-finned bony fishes (class Actinopterygii, infraclass Teleostei), along with bass, mullets, eels, salmon, and lanternfish.

Many people know of the male seahorse incubating the eggs and giving “birth” to 100-1000 offspring after they hatch, but reproduction is similar throughout the order Syngnathidae (including the seahorses, leafy and weedy sea dragons, and pipefish). There’s a persistent myth that seahorses are monogamous, but that’s not strictly true. The majority of species are serially monogamous, and remain together throughout the mating season (until the male births the babies).

Another remarkable thing about seahorses (Hippocampus spp.) is that they’re the only fish with prehensile tails - even their close relatives, the sea dragons and pipefish, don’t have this adaptation. However, since the seahorses are the only ones that swim upright, and they have the poorest locomotive skills, they need to be able to anchor themselves to the sea flora in order to not be swept away. The Guinness Book of World Records has named Hippocampus zosteraethe dwarf seahorse, the slowest fish in the world, moving less than 5 ft [150 cm] an hour.

Aside from the seahorses, the razorfish (Aeoliscus strigatus) is the only other fish to swim “upright”.

Images:
Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission, Vol 1. 1881.
Arcana; or, The Museum of Natural History. George Perry, 1811.

kevkjahn:

biomedicalephemera:

The Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana
The pronghorn is still colloquially known as the “prong-horned antelope”, even though it’s not actually related to the true Old World antelopes, which are native to Asia and Africa. It fills a similar ecological niche, and appears very similar, due to convergent evolution.
When humans first arrived in North America, there were five species of Antilocarpa extant, but the other four have since gone extinct. The other North American Artiodactyla were much larger than the pronghorns are. In fact, the fawns of these ruminants are so small at birth (only a few lbs) that they’re not uncommonly snatched by golden eagles, in smaller harems that cannot effectively defend their offspring while eating.
Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon, 1854.

To add to, and perhaps detract from, this lovely illustration, I present the wonderful Texas version of “Lie in the bed you’ve made”. 
“It’s time to paint your ass white and run like a pronghorn.”

*Boing-boing-boing!*
The pronghorn is the second-fastest land animal, and can sustain high speed for much longer than the African cheetahs. When they evolved, there was a very similar big cat in North America - the American cheetah. The pronghorn and the other Antilocarpa were their primary food source. 
It’s not known for certain, but the fossil records appear to show that the other Antilocarpa went extinct before the American cheetah. The little Pronghorn was the fastest and, probably, the least appealing of the local food sources. Evolution in action!

kevkjahn:

biomedicalephemera:

The Pronghorn - Antilocapra americana

The pronghorn is still colloquially known as the “prong-horned antelope”, even though it’s not actually related to the true Old World antelopes, which are native to Asia and Africa. It fills a similar ecological niche, and appears very similar, due to convergent evolution.

When humans first arrived in North America, there were five species of Antilocarpa extant, but the other four have since gone extinct. The other North American Artiodactyla were much larger than the pronghorns are. In fact, the fawns of these ruminants are so small at birth (only a few lbs) that they’re not uncommonly snatched by golden eagles, in smaller harems that cannot effectively defend their offspring while eating.

Quadrupeds of North America. John James Audubon, 1854.

To add to, and perhaps detract from, this lovely illustration, I present the wonderful Texas version of “Lie in the bed you’ve made”. 

It’s time to paint your ass white and run like a pronghorn.”

*Boing-boing-boing!*

The pronghorn is the second-fastest land animal, and can sustain high speed for much longer than the African cheetahs. When they evolved, there was a very similar big cat in North America - the American cheetah. The pronghorn and the other Antilocarpa were their primary food source.

It’s not known for certain, but the fossil records appear to show that the other Antilocarpa went extinct before the American cheetah. The little Pronghorn was the fastest and, probably, the least appealing of the local food sources. Evolution in action!

ragingkitten:

biomedicalephemera:

“Koalo” (Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus)
Sure, it lives its life in trees, dines almost exclusively on a plant genus that is incredibly non-nutritive and toxic to most animals (Eucalyptus), and the males have a two-pronged penis, but the koala has more in common with humans than you might think.
For one, they have lots of problems with venereal diseases, including one that’s so closely related to the human strain it can be transmitted across species - chlamydia. However, in koalas, chlamydia is present even in most healthy animals, and it’s only when the animal gets stressed or otherwise weakened that it manifests as disease. There’s currently a huge uptick in the numbers of koalas infected with chlamydia, causing mass sterility and, in many cases, death.
On a less dire note, koalas are the most distantly-related mammal to display “dermatoglyphes” - fingerprints with ridged loops and whorls, like humans have. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two under a microscope. As Homo sapiens and Phascolarctos cinereus diverged over 70 million years ago, it’s clear that this is a case of convergent evolution, developed to help the koala grip onto branches and tree trunks.
Aracana, or, The museum of Natural History. George Perry, 1811.

Those cute little Koalas? Kids, don’t play with them, you’ll get chlamydia. 

Not to mention they’re pretty much jerks who will act all cute and cuddly until you get within biting distance. The only time they’re not total jerks is when you have something they direly need. They’re way smarter than they should even have the capacity to be.
Fun fact: The koala’s low-nutrition diet means that it gets very little energy, and the brain is a massive energy sink. As a result, in the past few thousand years, the koala’s brain has shrunk to the size of a walnut, leaving most of its cranial cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and the koala with one of the smallest brains for its size among mammals - just 0.2% of its total mass.

ragingkitten:

biomedicalephemera:

“Koalo” (Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus)

Sure, it lives its life in trees, dines almost exclusively on a plant genus that is incredibly non-nutritive and toxic to most animals (Eucalyptus), and the males have a two-pronged penis, but the koala has more in common with humans than you might think.

For one, they have lots of problems with venereal diseases, including one that’s so closely related to the human strain it can be transmitted across species - chlamydia. However, in koalas, chlamydia is present even in most healthy animals, and it’s only when the animal gets stressed or otherwise weakened that it manifests as disease. There’s currently a huge uptick in the numbers of koalas infected with chlamydia, causing mass sterility and, in many cases, death.

On a less dire note, koalas are the most distantly-related mammal to display “dermatoglyphes” - fingerprints with ridged loops and whorls, like humans have. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two under a microscope. As Homo sapiens and Phascolarctos cinereus diverged over 70 million years ago, it’s clear that this is a case of convergent evolution, developed to help the koala grip onto branches and tree trunks.

Aracana, or, The museum of Natural History. George Perry, 1811.

Those cute little Koalas? Kids, don’t play with them, you’ll get chlamydia. 

Not to mention they’re pretty much jerks who will act all cute and cuddly until you get within biting distance. The only time they’re not total jerks is when you have something they direly need. They’re way smarter than they should even have the capacity to be.

Fun fact: The koala’s low-nutrition diet means that it gets very little energy, and the brain is a massive energy sink. As a result, in the past few thousand years, the koala’s brain has shrunk to the size of a walnut, leaving most of its cranial cavity filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and the koala with one of the smallest brains for its size among mammals - just 0.2% of its total mass.

"Koalo" (Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus)
Sure, it lives its life in trees, dines almost exclusively on a plant genus that is incredibly non-nutritive and toxic to most animals (Eucalyptus), and the males have a two-pronged penis, but the koala has more in common with humans than you might think.
For one, they have lots of problems with venereal diseases, including one that’s so closely related to the human strain it can be transmitted across species - chlamydia. However, in koalas, chlamydia is present even in most healthy animals, and it’s only when the animal gets stressed or otherwise weakened that it manifests as disease. There’s currently a huge uptick in the numbers of koalas infected with chlamydia, causing mass sterility and, in many cases, death. 
On a less dire note, koalas are the most distantly-related mammal to display "dermatoglyphes" - fingerprints with ridged loops and whorls, like humans have. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two under a microscope. As Homo sapiens and Phascolarctos cinereus diverged over 70 million years ago, it’s clear that this is a case of convergent evolution, developed to help the koala grip onto branches and tree trunks.
Aracana, or, The museum of Natural History. George Perry, 1811.

"Koalo" (Koala - Phascolarctos cinereus)

Sure, it lives its life in trees, dines almost exclusively on a plant genus that is incredibly non-nutritive and toxic to most animals (Eucalyptus), and the males have a two-pronged penis, but the koala has more in common with humans than you might think.

For one, they have lots of problems with venereal diseases, including one that’s so closely related to the human strain it can be transmitted across species - chlamydia. However, in koalas, chlamydia is present even in most healthy animals, and it’s only when the animal gets stressed or otherwise weakened that it manifests as disease. There’s currently a huge uptick in the numbers of koalas infected with chlamydia, causing mass sterility and, in many cases, death.

On a less dire note, koalas are the most distantly-related mammal to display "dermatoglyphes" - fingerprints with ridged loops and whorls, like humans have. In fact, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the two under a microscope. As Homo sapiens and Phascolarctos cinereus diverged over 70 million years ago, it’s clear that this is a case of convergent evolution, developed to help the koala grip onto branches and tree trunks.

Aracana, or, The museum of Natural History. George Perry, 1811.

Skeleton of the Fin Whale (Baelenoptera musculus)
Fin whales are the second-longest animal in the world, and second-largest, after the blue whale. They travel significantly faster than blue whales in open ocean, but were (and are) hunted just as much, if not more, than their rorqual counterparts. There are estimated to be 38,000 alive today.

Skeleton of the Fin Whale (Baelenoptera musculus)

Fin whales are the second-longest animal in the world, and second-largest, after the blue whale. They travel significantly faster than blue whales in open ocean, but were (and are) hunted just as much, if not more, than their rorqual counterparts. There are estimated to be 38,000 alive today.

Medical Eponyms: Legacy of the Anatomists

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, real or fictional. They can be found in every discipline of academia, but are particularly prevalent in medicine and physiology.

There are signs, reflexes, diseases, syndromes, medical instruments, and almost everything else you can think of, named after the discoverer, inventor, or someone else significant in the term’s development. Often the names become so associated with what they refer to that the historical figure is completely forgotten, even among those who use the term every day.

In light of that, let’s check out a few of the real people who have their legacy preserved in the parts of the body associated with their name -

Anatomical Eponyms -

Eustachian tube: Named after Bartolomeo Eustachi, a 16th-century Italian anatomist. Though very little is known about his life in general, he was physician to nobility and religious figures, and was unusually open (for the age) to new “innovative” ideas about anatomy not put forth by Galen, something his contemporaries actively fought. The Eustachian tube is a 3-4 cm canal that connects the middle ear to the nose, which maintains equal atmospheric pressure on either side of the eardrum. Admirer of Eustachi Antonio Maria Valsalva  first coined the term “Eustachian tube” around 100 years after Eustachi’s death.

Fallopian tubes: Named after Gabriele Falloppio, one of the most important anatomists of the 16th century, and a contemporary of other notables such as Eustachi and Vesalius. He corrected many of Vesalius’ mistakes in myology, and wrote some of the most detailed works on the inner ear and sexual organs to date. The Fallopian tubes are two fine ciliated tubules in females, leading from the ovaries to the uterus, which carry mature ova away from the ovary during ovulation.

Organ of Corti: Named after Alfonso Giacomo Gaspare Corti, an Italian anatomist who performed some of the first microscopic studies on mammalian hearing in the mid-19th century. His methods of preserving the cochlea were able to effectively allow him to discover some of the tiny mechanisms of hearing that hadn’t been previously understood. The organ of Corti is the organ in the inner ear that has the auditory sensory cells, or “hair cells” - those things your doctor warns you can’t re-grow if you listen to music too loudly!

Cowper’s Glands: Named after William Cowper, the late-17th-century English anatomist, who was the first to describe these glands. Though considered a great surgeon and anatomist in his own right, there was an unfortunate incident where he published several plates of Govard Bidloo’s musculature works under his own name (with no mention of Bidloo), and there was a very heated exchange between the two men and their supporters. The Cowper’s glands are small glands in the male, on either side of the prostate gland, and release pre-seminal fluid. This fluid neutralizes the acidic traces of urine in the urethra, which has the potential to kill the spermatozoa. 

Haversian Canal: Named after 17th-century (I sense a bit of a trend here…) English anatomist Clopton Havers. He was a physician with a keen interest in microscopy and bones, and was the first to document several unique substructures in both compact and spongy bone. The Haversian canals are small hollow canals that run within the longitudinal axis of compact bones, which generally contain one or two capillaries and a nerve. They deliver nutrients to the living bone cells.

Bundle of His: Named after Wilhelm His Jr., the late-19th-century Swiss cardiologist and anatomist. He practiced and taught medicine in Berlin, Germany, and only became a cardiologist later in life. His earlier work on diseases led to his name being  used as one of the eponyms for trench fever, which is a pretty horrendous disease of war. The bundle of His is also known as the atrioventricular (AV) bundle, and is a collection of cardiac muscle cells specialized for electrical conduction, essential for a rhythmic heartbeat.

Islets of Langerhans: Named after Paul Langerhans, a 19th-century German physiologist, pathologist, and biologist. He was the son of a physician and was keenly interested in anatomy from an early age, and many of his most important discoveries were before he turned 30. He was also keen on biology, and did work on the fauna of Syria and the surrounding areas. The islets of Langerhans are the regions of the pancreas that contain the endocrine cells. They’re most well-known for producing insulin.

Circle of Willis: Named after Thomas Willis, a 17th-century English physician and founding member of the Royal Society of London. He also belonged to the circles that the many notable contemporary Oxford scientists comprised. Though he had a very well-off medical practice, his association with the Oxford experimenters led to significant time spent in the dissection room and trading ideas. Willis wrote about rudimentary psychological principles, neurology, and the anatomy of the brain. The Circle of Willis is a circle of arteries at the base of the brain. It creates a level of redundancy for the brain’s blood supply, meaning that if one part of it gets blocked or narrowed, the brain can stay fully oxygenated by getting blood from another artery that connects to the Circle.

Of course, this is only a few of the many medical and anatomical eponyms out there, but they’re some of the ones you tend to hear about a lot but might not know the origin of.

Next time I’ll cover Purkinje fibers, the Node of Ranvier, the Loop of Henle, Malpighian bodies, Meissner's corpuscles, Volkmann’s canals, Sharpey’s fibers, and Herring bodies (which are not fish). 

Sources and Further Reading:

Who Named It?

MedEponyms

What’s in a Name? The Eponymic Route to Immortality.

Forearm of Giant Armadillo - Dasypus gigas (now Priodontes maximus)
Look at those crazy claws! The giant armadillo actually walks on that third digit. Though it walks “normally” on its hind legs, the fore-body weight rests on just those two giant scratchers. They developed that way to help the armadillo dig, but apparently they work for walking on, too…what happens if they break a nail?
Nomenclature (obsolete):
Dasypus - From Ancient Greek dasupous, meaning “rough-foot” - though the -pus in the genus name can be elucidated to mean “foot,” das(y/u)- is not a commonly-used prefix and is not listed in most Greek/Latin root references.
(Dasypus) gigas - Gigas - from the Ancient Greek gigas, meaning “giant”. However, gigas CURRENTLY means “a billion.” When the name of the genus was changed in the 1950s, the species name was changed, too, as the currently-accepted definition of gigas was no longer appropriate.
Dasypus gigas - "Giant Rough-Foot"
Nomenclature (current):
Priodontes: Prio - from the Latin prior - “before”, -dontes, from dent/dont, “tooth” - so Prio - dontes means “before teeth” - refers to the fact that the genus is completely toothless.
(Priodontes) maximus: Maximus - from Latin maximum - “greatest, largest”, which is the superlative form of magnum - "great, large".
Priodontes maximus = “Largest before teeth”
On the Anatomy of Vertebrates: Vol II - Birds and Mammals. Richard Owen, 1866.

Forearm of Giant Armadillo - Dasypus gigas (now Priodontes maximus)

Look at those crazy claws! The giant armadillo actually walks on that third digit. Though it walks “normally” on its hind legs, the fore-body weight rests on just those two giant scratchers. They developed that way to help the armadillo dig, but apparently they work for walking on, too…what happens if they break a nail?

  • Nomenclature (obsolete):
  1. Dasypus - From Ancient Greek dasupous, meaning “rough-foot” - though the -pus in the genus name can be elucidated to mean “foot,” das(y/u)- is not a commonly-used prefix and is not listed in most Greek/Latin root references.
  2. (Dasypus) gigas - Gigas - from the Ancient Greek gigas, meaning “giant”. However, gigas CURRENTLY means “a billion.” When the name of the genus was changed in the 1950s, the species name was changed, too, as the currently-accepted definition of gigas was no longer appropriate.
  3. Dasypus gigas - "Giant Rough-Foot"
  • Nomenclature (current):
  1. Priodontes: Prio - from the Latin prior - “before”, -dontes, from dent/dont, “tooth” - so Prio - dontes means “before teeth” - refers to the fact that the genus is completely toothless.
  2. (Priodontes) maximus: Maximus - from Latin maximum - “greatest, largest”, which is the superlative form of magnum - "great, large".
  3. Priodontes maximus = “Largest before teeth”

On the Anatomy of Vertebrates: Vol II - Birds and Mammals. Richard Owen, 1866.

Scientific Terminology: Taxonomy and Nomenclature 101

The origins of medical terms are interesting enough, but Greek and Latin roots are used throughout the sciences, and around here, you’ll see them a lot when it comes to species names. There are some interesting ones out there, with some bizarre (and sometimes humorous) meanings…

But first! Some taxonomy basics:

Setting aside phylogeny-specific nomenclature and cladistics for now, Linnaean taxonomy is the system of naming species that has been used since, well, Carl Linnaeus. A “taxon" (plural taxa) is simply a grouping of one or more organisms, judged to belong to the same unit based on any number of qualifications. 

Though current “Linnaean taxonomy" (which is what’s commonly used in schools and in general literature) differs significantly from Linnaeus’ original three-kingdom, five-level, ranked classifications, it’s still known by that name and takes many of the concepts from it, such as hierarchical classification. Thanks to the popularity of Linnaeus’ 1735 work, Systema Naturae, a solid foundation for modern taxonomy was put in place, with an organized system, and short, understandable, scientific names.

Taxonomy today:

Currently, animal species are organized according to rules set down by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, to ensure uniformity across the zoological community. Plants and bacteria follow different naming codes, but those are less relevant here.

This is a basic schematic demonstrating the hierarchical system that’s used when we classify a species:

According to the ICZN, the basic rank is that of species. The next most important rank is that of genus: when an organism is given a species name it is assigned to a genus, and the genus name is part of the species name. Species and genus were both seen by Linnaeus as “God-given”/”natural”. Anything above genus was considered a construct made by man to more easily classify the world around him.

The third-most important rank, although it was not used by Linnaeus, is that of family. Even though family is important in understanding the classification of an animal, it is not used in the “scientific name”, nor are any of the higher levels in its classification.

So what’s a “scientific name?”

The italicized names that you see in scientific literature (and around here) refer to the specific species of a creature, and are called the binomen; that is, “two names”. Those two names are the genus (first, and capitalized) and the species (second, never capitalized, even when named after a proper noun). An example of a binomen would be Choloepus hoffmanni - the genus is Choloepus, the two-toed sloths, and the species is Choloepus hoffmanni, Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth.

Sometimes there are three names, or the trinomen of a creature. These tell you, first, the genus, second, the species, and third, the subspecies. Take the trinomen Choloepus hoffmanni pallescens. The genus is Choloepus, the species is Choloepus hoffmanni, and the subspecies is Choloepus hoffmanni pallescens, the Peruvian two-toed sloth.

Though you only are told the two (or three) most specific taxonomic groupings for a creature, you can use those (and a phylogenetic tree) to figure out all of the less-specific (Linnaean) taxa it belongs to, such as its Family, Order, Class, and Phylum.

What does the scientific name actually mean, though?

Often, the scientific name describes notable or distinguishing characteristics about a species, that you can decode (scientific terminology time!). Let’s take the species Cyclopes didactylus. The first name given tells us that this creature belongs to the genus Cyclopes - “Circle-foot”. Within that genus, the species name is Cyclopes didactylus (abbreviated C. didactylus after the first use), and yes, you do repeat the genus name in the species name, by ICZN guidelines. On its own, “didactylus" can be broken down to the roots of di-, dactyl, -(o)us. “Having two fingers.” So the binominal can be deciphered as “Circle-foot having two fingers.”

Circle-foot two-fingers! (aka the Silky or Pygmy Anteater)

This descriptive-type species name is not the only way scientists assign taxa, though.

For everything above genus, the taxa are fairly regulated/already-determined, are not easy to add and subtract from, and have strict naming guidelines. From genus on down, though, so long as what you’ve discovered is verified as a new species (or group of species falling together as a genus), congratulations! You have the honor of naming it. Well, assuming it’s not patently offensive, vulgar, or unpronounceable. The ICZN approval board or the equivalent for your field has final say on whether or not a species can be given a submitted name.

Still, there are many ways to name a new species. You can name it in reference to physical characteristics, location found, a specific person or group, or even an ironic joke or pun. Look at the name Linnaeus gave the Blue Whale:

Balaenoptera musculis. Balaenoptera = “Baleen-winged”, ok, they have huge fins and baleen, so that makes sense.  Musculis = "little mouse". Har har har.

Musculis" can also refer to "muscle," but given that Linnaeus was given to puns and double-meanings, he was well aware of the "little mouse" definition.

Notes:

**Though the specific epithet for a species can be used in more than one genus, genus names must remain absolutely unique, in accordance with ICZN rules. Ex. Since you can have more than one species with the didactylus epithet, Cyclopes didactylus and Inimicus didactylus are both valid names - though you really don’t want to mix up the silky anteater with the "devil stinger"/lumpfish.

**When the specific species is not known, the abbreviation “sp.” is used after the genus name. Ex. Lutra sp. refers to either Lutra lutra OR Lutra sumatrana, but it’s unknown as to which one. When multiple species within a genus are being referred to (or the specific species is unimportant), the abbreviation “spp.” is used after the genus name. Ex. Lutra spp. refers to BOTH Lutra lutra AND Lutra sumatrana.

Additional resources:

Armadillo Online’s Taxonomy

Tree of Life Web Project

Nomenclator Zoologicus

Etymology Online

Integrated Taxonomic Information System

International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

the unit “one human” is the same in metric AND imperial

ofpaperandponies:

-one modern bathtub holds approximately 80 gallons of water when completely full

-a human displaces one gallon of water for every ~8.3 lbs of weight at 4 C/39.2 F

-at 150 lbs, one human would displace ~18 gallons

-assuming you don’t want to cause the tub to overflow but to be near the top, you need about 60 gallons of liquid

——-

-one human contains ~5 quarts of blood (1.25 gallons)

Assuming full exsanguination (optimistic, I know), you would need 48 humans in order to bathe in blood.

You’d probably want 50, just to be certain you have enough blood. Up that amount to 75 or so if you’re looking to bathe in the blood of virgins or you have one of those old-style claw tubs.

I TEACH YOU ALL VALUABLE LESSONS

Báthory Erzsébet (the Countess of Bathory) tortured and exsanguinated between 200 and 650 girls and young women between the years of 1585 and 1610, in an effort to preserve her youth, with virginal blood.

Worn on the neck, eyes taken from a living crab would cure swollen eyes, a woman’s spindle whorl, and cheek disease.

- Bald’s Leechbook, Vol. III : ca. 850 C.E.

Retrieved from Extra-Medical Elements in Anglo-Saxon Medicine, by Audrey L. Meaney, in the Social History of Medicine, Vol. 24 No. 1.

Someone sick in the spleen or loin, or of a lung wound, should drink wine containing bunches of black ivy berries—first three, then five, and so on up to 21, running through the odd numbers only.

-Bald’s Leechbook vol. II -ca. 850 C.E.

I imagine that much wine would cure the “sickness” and pain of a lung wound with noooo problem.

[Retrieved from Extra-Medical Elements in Anglo-Saxon Medicine, by Audrey L. Meaney, in the Social History of Medicine, Vol. 24 No. 1.]

For inability to urinate, you roast a fish found within another fish, shred it into a drink, and then give it to the unsuspecting patient.

-Bald’s Leechbook - ca. 850 C.E.

[Retrieved from Extra-Medical Elements in Anglo-Saxon Medicine, by Audrey L. Meaney, in the Social History of Medicine, Vol. 24 No. 1.]