Students in anatomy and physiology confront an array of tongue-twisting terms. To make matters worse, scientists seldom use one prissy word when there is an opportunity to use four or five. Finally, current terminology rejects traditional eponymous terms in favor of descriptive ones, so the “Purkinje fibers” in the heart have become the “subendocardial conducting network,” and certain cells in the testis have gone from being “Sertoli cells” to “sustentacular cells” to ‘sustenocytes.” I could…I promise…go on and on, but I will resist the urge.
How can I explain, much less justify, the importance of knowing multiple terms for the same structures and mechanisms? Sometimes I show this sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus. How many ways can you say “dead parrot”? My favorite is “joined the choir invisible.”
Do you have a favorite clip that you use as an object lesson or illustration? Do you have a video that’s part of your class culture? Please share.