Thursday, 30 June 2011

What is the difference between a Crocodile and an Alligator?

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What is the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
Last weekend I took this image of a crocodile and thought I may as well do something with it, so it’s on the web. Made me think about the physical differences between alligators and crocodiles.
First things first, not all the articles I read up on agree on many aspects, but not on all, even the basic differences, so beware, and double check if you are doing serious research.
The crocodile above has teeth sticking out everywhere. One of the main differences quoted is that when a croc has his mouth shut both upper and lower teeth are visible. Now I know this image is of a croc and there are enough teeth to be seen, therefore this is a croc. An alligator is different in that when the animal’s mouth is closed only the upper teeth or no teeth are visible.
Rule Number 1: If the reptile in question has its mouth closed and you can see upper and lower jaw teeth, it is a crocodile.
The second major difference has to do with the size. Crocodiles are larger and heavier. How much larger and how much heavier?
There are always exceptions to the rule but general consensus is that crocs can grow to about 19 to 20 feet and an alligator to between 14 and 15 feet.
The heavier part? Could not find an answer
Rule number 2: Crocodiles are larger and heavier than alligators. Which is of theoretical value unless you seen them together or have a tape measure with an accommodating animal.
Another major difference is the size and shape of the snout.
Alligators have broad noses as in “U” shaped whereas crocodiles have pointed sharp noses. One needs to see two images for comparison purposes to get this into perspective. Why the difference? Alligators have a greater crushing ability to break hard food like turtles, and crocs eater softer food such as fish and smaller land animals that are “ambushed” while drinking. Again this is rule of thumb and there are exceptions, crocs are known to bring down a Gnu, which cannot be considered small
Rule number 3: Alligators have shorter and broader heads with flat and wide snouts compared to crocodiles that have longer heads with pointed snouts.
Alligators are darker in colour and appear to be black when wet, whereas crocodiles are lighter in color as in gray. The image above is what one could expect from a croc out of water
Rule number 4: Aligators are darker in colour than crocodiles
By the way, according to one source, the collective noun for a bunch of crocodiles is a “bask of crocodiles”. I did not cross check this and present it at face value

Monday, 20 June 2011

Do Bees have Knees? The Bees Knees Origin and Meaning

Do bees have knees, and what does the bees knees mean and origin.
There appears to be lengthy debates on the Internet as to whether bees have knees or not. I found this more interesting than the origin and meaning of the saying The Bees Knees. There is no gray area in the questions and comments that I read. People either believe that bees have knees or they don’t, but none of the arguments that I read were convincing when evaluating the arguments for and against.

So I wandered off and decided to form my own opinion, for better or for worse.
Place to start was the definition of a knee in medical terms. There is no shortage of definitions, so, the decision was made to focus on one source namely, “Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Anatomy.”
The definition of a knee is as follows
The joint of the human leg connecting the tibia and fibula with the femur and protected in front by the patella ."

First to mind, is that this a definition of a knee, as in human, not as in insect and consists of an upper leg connected to a lower leg by a tendon (not stated in the definition) and covered by a knee cap.
So, by human definitions the bee does not have knees as there is no patella, ergo, no knees.
But bees are not human they are insects, so is there a definition of an insects knee somewhere in an entomology dictionary or published paper?
None that I could find, and this includes detailed drawings of the insect and online entomology articles and entomology dictionary searches.
Pop around to Bee Anatomy at for an example of the complex anatomy of a bee leg

So, my subjective interpretation is if that entomologists do not refer to a bees knees, therefore a bee does not have knees.
But then as usual one finds a definition from a reliable source that resets interpretations back to zero. Merriam-Webster definitions include a reference to “ the joint between the femur and and the tibia of an inscet”. No reference is made to a patella as being part of the definition.
So according to this definition a bee knee can exist, the joint between the two leg components being the knee.
Back to square one.
What about birds? The best I could find was a “Tibio-tarsal articulation”, which does not specify a patella.
Inanimate objects are also referred to having knees, but as in a pivotal action resembling the action of a leg with a knee. So, if anything can bend can it be called a knee?
To be honest, I am too lazy and frustrated to go that route at the moment.
My subjective conclusion, until an Entomologist will tell me otherwise, is that humans have knees, and insects have a leg construction that functions like a human knee.
The original intention of this post was to find out what “The Bees Knees” meant and origin. This is easy compared to the knee story. This is a nonsensical saying that originated sometime soon after the First World War (circa 1920’s), as did many other silly sayings. It means something of excellence. This sorted my perception out, as I was under the impression that it is a derogatory term, as in “ He/she thinks he/she’s the bees knees”, alluding to someone pretending to be better than the reality of the situation. A state of the art mobile phone can be referred to as the "bees knees”, when considered the best available.
Image fron Wikipedia
That’s it.....
Update/Edit : 20 June 2011
Most visitors to this page Googled " do bees have knees?". What I did not refer to in the above is that the hind legs carry pollen, and the pollen could create the perception that the inscet has knees


Thursday, 02 June 2011

The King is dead, long live the King: Origin and meaning.

"The King is dead, long live the King", origin and meaning.
This from an e-mail request.
However, after scratching around a bit the exercise became futile as an excellent article at the link below summarises it all.
Two other interpretations are firstly, that the King is dead, but his good work will be remembered forever, and, secondly alluding to only a King will rule England. History does not support this view.
Image from Wikipedia : King Louis XIV of France 1701

Wednesday, 01 June 2011

Image of the most attractive, beautiful and sexiest person in the world.

Look closely, undoubtedly the most attractive, sexiest, beautiful person you have ever seen, and don't forget it.
(Mirror, Mirror on the wall......)