This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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



Monday, 8 June 2020

Spot the Frippet: lobe.

Philosophers have directed their super-powered brains at all sorts of knotty questions, but one they seem to have ignored is why do people have ear lobes?

It's true that they're useful for dangling pretty things:

File:Girl with a Pearl Earring.jpg
painting by Johannes Vermeer

and Sherlock Holmes found them useful for identifying a murder victim in The Adventure of the Cardboard Box:

Sherlock Holmes - Adventure of the Cardboard Box illustration 1893.jpg
illustration by Sidney Paget

There's also a theory that, being basically small pouches of blood, ear lobes might help to keep our ears warm: but no one's come up with an really satisfactory answer to why we have them.

There are many other lobes which form part of the human body but as the rest are to be found in the innards I hope very much you don't spot any of those. But if you don't see another person all day - or a mirror - then leaves sometimes have lobes:

File:Sassafras albidum 3 lobe variations B.JPG
Variation in the lobes of Sassafras albidum. Photo by Rlevse

Lobes on leaves may help a plant with getting rid of heat, or they might help with the drawing up of water; but basically the reason leaves have lobes is just one more mystery.

Rather romantic, really, isn't it.

Spot the Frippet: a lobe. The Greek word lobos meant the lobe of the ear or the liver.


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