This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Word To Use Today: tiktaalik.

Here's a pretty word to brighten up your day:


You say it TIKTARlick.

Tiktaaliks are sadly extinct, but tiktaalik is still a useful word because tiktaaliks are missing links - not the missing link between apes and man (which has pretty much been found now, anyway) but the missing link between water and land animals.

Tiktaaliks looked a bit like this:

The tiktaalik's full name was Tiktaalik roseae*.

Neil H Shubin, one of the people who discovered the fossil of the tiktaalik in Northern Canada, has called the tiktaalik a fishapod because it was a walking fish. It had gills and scales, but also lungs, a neck, and ribs. Just to mix things up even more, it had wrists, but fins on the end of them instead of toes.

The tiktaalik lived about 375 million years ago, but there are still plenty of missing links that need to be identified today: the link between the edible and the inedible, for instance.

In that case I should say the tiktaalik is pot noodle.

Word To Use Today: tiktaalik. This word is the Inuktitut for burbot.

*When I say was, I actually mean is: because of course there were no people around to know what the poor tiktaaliks called themselves at the time, and they may well have had quite different names amongst themselves, like Cynthia, or Algernon, or  Doris.

1 comment:

  1. Quite a delightful creature and a delightful name for it too!