Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rhyming in harmony about dinosaur's anatomy

Bert Leston Taylor (1866-1921), using B. L. T. as his initials, was writing humorous columns for newspapers [1-3]. He also engaged in writing comic and delightful verses, which often expose some little-noted wisdom or truth. One of my favorite poems is The Dinosaur, in which B. L. T. referred to the ‘second brain’ (large ganglion in the pelvis) of some dinosaurs [4-6]: 
Behold the mighty dinosaur,
Famous in prehistoric lore,
Not only for his power and strength
But for his intellectual length.

You will observe by his remains
The creature had two sets of brains -
One in his head (the usual place),
The other at his spinal base.

Thus he could reason A priori
As well as A posteriori.
No problem bothered him a bit
He made both head and tail of it.

So wise was he, so wise and solemn,
Each thought filled his spinal column.
If one brain found the pressure strong,
It passed a few ideas along.

If something slipped his forward mind
'Twas rescued by the one behind.
And if in error he was caught
He had a saving afterthought.

As he thought twice before he spoke
He had no judgement to revoke.
Thus he could thing without congestion
Upon both sides of every question.

Oh, gaze upon this model beast,
Defunct ten million years at least.
............>> Bert Leston Taylor <<
With two brains quite distinct, dinosaurs yet went extinct!

Keywords: comparative anatomy, nerve trunk, educational rhyme, poetry, humor, anthropomorphizing.

[1] New York State Literary Tree: Bert Leston Taylor [].
[2] Evi: Bert Leston Taylor biography [].
[3] Bert Leston Taylor: The So-Called Human Race. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1922 [].
[4] Karen's Poetry Spot: The Riddle of The Dinosaur by Bert Leston Taylor. October 16, 2007 [].
[5] The Dinosaur [].
[6] Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth. Free Press, New York, 2009; page 306.

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