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fish and other monsters

A delayed reaction to recent messages about weird "fish" and other
instances of Eurotaxonomy...

There was a nature show a few years ago about the capybara (I forget
who put it out), which said that the local people had decided to
regard it as a fish because it spends so much time in the water.
Conveniently this meant they could eat it during Lent.

There's a great scene in the movie "Inherit the Wind" where
William Jennings Bryan, showing off his great knowledge of the
Bible, points out that Jonah was not swallowed by a "whale" but
by a "big fish," whereupon Clarence Darrow looks at the text and
finds that it reads "great fish."  The Latin Vulgate Bible has
"piscem grandem" (big/great fish), but the Greek (Septuagint)
version has "ketei megaloi" -- the word "ketos" is less clearly
defined.  Liddell & Scott's lexicon defines it as "any sea monster
or huge fish"; sometimes it's applied to whales, sometimes to seals,
sometimes even to large land animals.  Charles Thomson, the
secretary of the Continental Congress, did an English translation of
the Septuagint where he rendered Jonah 1.17 as "great whale."
It looks like the terminological confusion about large sea creatures
has been around for a long time.

The Dinosaur Digest option does work--same great taste, less filling--
as long as you don't mind 65 to 80 screens in a single message, and
getting a message only once or twice a day.  Beats unsubscribing.     

George Pesely        peselyg@lynx.apsu.edu