Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Octopuses good, octopi non-existent.

Note to world: the plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi. I have discussed this with more than one expert on octopuses, and they consistently report that 'octopi' is is just plain wrong. Octopus comes from Greek roots (octi=eight, pous=foot), not Latin. Greek does not pluralize words ending in -us by ending in -i. That is Latin. The old fashioned plural was octipodes, but that went out with dropsy and mammifers.

1 comment:

jte said...

Unrelated to octopuses. Question on evolution.

Is there reason to believe, or evidence to support, that the forms of evolution occurring among species during a period of abundant resources is different from the forms of evolution occurring among species during a period of deficient resources?

It seems that a lot of the argument in evolutionary theory is that it takes a lot of energy to grow extra and useless appendages or what have you, so if they really are useless, you'd expect them to evolve away. But if resources are abundant--energy is not a particularly limiting factor--do you then get a scenario in which all kinds of wacky and useless appendages appear and are not attritioned away? Which gives those appendages time to hang around enough to be available when the environment changes and all of a sudden they are useful and confer an advantage?

Or something like that?