Comparing anatomy


To explain:

  • Alice Roberts is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She is a physical anthropologist, author, and popular TV science presenter, and was once nominated for the Prime Ministership of Italy;
  • comparative anatomy is the study of similarities and differences in the anatomy of different organisms;
  • my use of the phrase ‘on the nature of limbs’ is a reference to a book of that name by Richard Owen (Amazon uk | .com);
  • Richard Owen was a brilliant Victorian anatomist. An adversary of Charles Darwin, he invented the word dinosaur, and was responsible for the creation of what later became the Natural History Museum in London. Owen believed that the anatomies of all vertebrates shared the same basic blueprint, which he referred to as the archetype;
  • Charles Darwin was a total dude, who realised that Owen's so-called archetype in fact represented the common ancestor of all vertebrates;
  • Ernst Haeckel was a brilliant German biologist, who developed his own (mostly wrong) version of Darwinism;
  • Edward B. Lewis was an twentieth-century American geneticist, who co-received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his pioneering work on fruit flies;
  • Horizon is a long-running, BBC popular science television programme.

Or, to put it another way:

  • Alice Roberts sent me a tweet mentioning Charles Darwin!

My work here is almost complete.

Finding out what goes on inside a woman's head

My American mate Karen received a serious bump to the noggin a few months back. She ended up in hospital for a couple of days, and suffered from vertigo for several weeks, until some expert came along and tilted her in just the right way to reposition some tiny things in her inner-ear. (No, I didn't make that up.)

I wouldn't normally disclose friends' personal medical details on Gruts, but Karen, being a science nut, has been tweeting quite happily about her experiences on Twitter. She has even changed her Twitter avatar to show herself wearing a crash-helmet. Yesterday, she went for a routine, precautionary brain-scan:

A friend has a brain-scan, and, minutes later, she is sharing it like holiday snaps. We are living in the future.