The Japanese researchers who dubbed a pachyderm secretion to be “hipposudoric acid” seem to know more about biochemistry than about etymology. The word hippopotamus is a synthesis of Latin hippo (horse) and potamus (river), apparently because of the resemblance of the face of a submerged hippopotamus to the head of a horse. Hipposudoric implies a connection to horses, which is obviously not the case.
Harry Pottol Sunnyvale, Calif.
From the Nature Index
Subscribers, enter your e-mail address for full access to the Science News archives and digital editions.