Tag: essay

No Critters Harmed: Colors Inspired by Living Animals

In a previous episode on words for different colors, an episode called Ingrained: A Crush of Color, I talked about the names we have for colors based on animals who have been crushed to create the color or from whom we’ve extracted their secretions to create colors or pigments. Today, we talk about the names for colors whose histories are a lot easier on animals, because they’re inspired by the colors of living animals. 

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Coccyx: Please Don’t Sit on the Cuckoo

Coccyx is a small triangle-shaped bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and other apes, such as gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. Representing a vestigial tail and most commonly called the tailbone, coccyx was the name given to this part of our anatomy by ancient Greek physician Galen because of its resemblance to an animal, making the word an “animalogy.” Can you guess the etymology? All is revealed in this episode of Animalogy, a podcast about language and the animal-related words and expressions we use every day.

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Thank you! For the animals,

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The Lives of Others

I’m very proud to be a contributor to my National Public Radio station, KQED. In this 2-minute radio editorial, I explain why when I encounter a stray animal, I can’t help but help. And, so I’m always prepared.

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