Thursday, 14 October 2010

Words of the Week

Since getting the internet at my house I was meant to be updating regularly, yet I haven't. I have a lot planned but don't appear to be implementing anything (except a new post on Kale Ktisis today). I've had some commitments taking up my time: the band; the girlfriend; the work for the course; and lots of hanging around with friends. So, in order to contribute at least once a week, I have a new idea. I have a bit of a passion for words; I've been called a logophile in the past and that is quite accurate. I'm also a trainee palaeobiologist (a fancy way of saying I study it) so I come across lots of new terms from geology to biology. Whenever I come across a new term which I find aesthetically pleasing I will share it here, allowing me to briefly talk about the subject. Here's a round-up of some of my favourite words of the last few weeks:

Diplocraterion yoyo: This is not strictly a term, but is an ichnospecies (meaning it is the name of a type of trace fossil). Trace fossils are not classified by exactly what made them (most of the time) as different species can produce the same tracks, whilst conversely a single species can produce a range of tracks. The form of Diplocraterion yoyo is a vertical burrows with spreiten (curved lines within the burrow) which show that the organism, likely a bivalve mollusc, had to move up and down in the burrow, adjusting its position to maintain equilibrium. This is indicative of high energy marine environments. 
Not the most useful picture, but I might be going there in a couple of weeks.
My lectures on trace fossils yield a lot of interesting names such as Spongeliomorpha and Maiakarichnus, or today's Coprinisphaera, which means "spherical poo". 

Synchotron Radiation X-ray Tomographic Microscopy (SRXTM): I can't say much about this, I just liked how long it was. 

Ichnocoenosis: Another trace fossil term, which means 'the trace fossil assemblage produced by what approximates to the work of a single community of trace fossils'. It reminds me of another good palaeo term: thanatacoenosis (death assemblage). 

Allochthonous: Defined by the Oxford Dictionary of Earth Sciences as 'not indigenous; acquired. In the Earth sciences the term is applied to geological units that originated at a distance from their present position.'

Zosterophyllophyta and Trimerophytophyta: Two classes of early terrestrial plants found in the Devonian. The zosterophylls have dichotomous branching, with lateral sporangia showing dehiscence, with often curled terminations to the branches. The trimerophytes show dichotomous and trifurcate branching, with terminal sporangia aggregated on fertile branches and are thought to have given rise to all vascular plants except the lycopods. Is it obvious that I just copied this from my palaeobotany notes because I liked the names?

Gelbstoff: This German portmanteau can be translated as yellow stuff and refers to some yellow stuff found in the ocean (polyphenolic compounds). I like this term because I am gaining a fondness for German words and phrases (me and some of my friends have a habit of shouting random German phrases, especially strong sounding ones like this, but also my girlfriend is studying German and I am going there with uni next year, perhaps I could also learn to read Seilacher papers in German...). Another German phrase I keep trying to use lately is Weltanschauung, which pretty much means world-view. 

I'll end with this imposing picture of a chaetognath head, though I wanted to end with an amusing picture of a polychaete trochophore, but the exact image I wanted is being elusive:

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