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

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