On this page, you'll find words or phrases that potentially need clarification.

afferent: going towards; commonly refers to blood vessels that are entering or going towards something, like the heart.

anthropomorphic: when we puny humans project our emotions or perceptions on an inapplicable situation

avian: of or having to do with birds; birds belong to the class "Aves")

chromosome: nature's way of packaging DNA so that it may be transferred from a parent to a baby; a little x-shaped DNA nugget

concurrent: describes when two things flow in the same direction; often refers to bloodflow

countercurrent: describes when two things flow in opposite directions; often refers to bloodflow

cloaca: the sexy bits of reptiles, amphibians and birds; essentially a reproductive hole found in both female and males

diploid: the condition of having two sets of chromosomes. You are diploid. Congratulations.

efferent: going away from; commonly refers to blood vessels that are leaving something, like the heart.

fitness: animal's survivability; represents the correlation between an animal's physical/behavior advantages and it's chances of survival.

gravidity: the condition of carrying eggs or young. Describes pregnancy (carrying of a fetus)  but expands to include the condition of carrying eggs.

haploid: the condition of having one set of chromosomes; doesn't occur very often in nature, except in non-sexual reproduction, i.e. budding, cloning, etc.

invertebrate: A critter that does not possess a backbone; often represent ancient lineages that emerged first in evolutionary history; includes insects, bugs, starfish, worms, octopus, just to name a few.

morphology: the construction of an animal; i.e. Your morphology, human, lends itself to walking upright and performing dexterous tasks with your hands.

mutation: A change; commonly refers to a natural change in DNA sequence that results in a change like albinism, or Wolverine from X-Men.

niche: a position within an ecosystem; i.e. My niche within my family is the light-hearted younger sister who keeps everyone young at heart.

passerine: A songbird that belongs to the family Passeridae; Mockingbirds, Warblers, Titmice, Crows, etc.

photoperiod: length of day vs. night; many animals' seasonal activities like mating, hibernation, and migration depend on the changing photoperiod throughout the year.

phyla: a broad term that refers to the array of organisms in the world

physiology: the study of how the systems within an animal's body function.

scary ass: sophisticated descriptor of something I personally find terrifying or disturbing

setae: little hairs; when located on a mandible, may also be referred to as "hairs on a chinny-chin-chin."

species: debatable. Loosely, a group of very similar animals that can successfully breed with one another. 

substrate: something that something else attaches to. i.e. A snail crawls along a blade of grass- the blade of grass is the substrate. Also, refers to the molecule that an enzyme attaches to and changes.

taxonomy: the classification and naming of similar animals into groups.

terrestrial: refers to a land-dwelling organism

vertebrate: critter with a backbone.

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