[Taxacom] canaliculate

Peter A Rauch peterar at berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 5 15:14:22 CDT 2020

Why is it important to have a single word to describe the shape?

Is the shape unique, or special, or variable (depending on what?)?

Is the shape's shape variable in a 'meaningful' way?

Is describing that variability an important concept to convey when
discussing this shape or any particular example of this shape?

Can the shape be described in some formulaic manner (mathematically) that
has useful parameters for describing the variations in the shape?

Google "open arch culverts" for some insights into shapes that include the
one(s) you seek to name. See the diagram
<https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/49066.html> at the top right of this page
for a couple examples of an arch/channel similar to what you seem to be


On Wed, Aug 5, 2020 at 12:38 PM Jon Todd via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> I find the search for an obscure adjective for the channelled morphology a
> bit mystifying. What is wrong with saying something like “U-shaped with
> rounded margins”?
> Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2020 14:06:22 -0400
> From: Les Watling <watling at hawaii.edu>
> To: "Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Subject: [Taxacom] canliculate
> I was curious about canaliculate being used to describe a U-shaped
> structure so I checked various dictionaries online. One a medical
> dictionary made the distinction between canliculate and valleculate. The
> former is more like a canal, i.e., with steep sides, and the latter is more
> wide valley-like. In the medical dictionary the valleculate is used for
> wide depressions and canaliculate for narrower, probably more steep-sided
> depressions.
> Geologists tend to just use U-shaped or V-shaped for valleys carved by
> glaciers (in the former case) or rivers and streams (in the latter case),
> but it seems that maybe medicine and botany have coined specific terms,
> based most likely on Latin words, for structures or features with specific
> attributes.
> When I first started out in taxonomic work, I was concerned that my
> vocabulary of adjectives, in particular, was not very good. So, I bought a
> book called Bersteins Reverse Dictionary, which helped a lot, but wasn't as
> easy to use as one might think.
> In the end, in taxonomy, words are great if their meaning is not too broad
> or ambiguous, but I can also agree with Ken Kinman that maybe using
> "U-shaped" is better than trying to come up with a word that has more
> precision than that....
> Best,
> Les
> Les Watling
> Professor, Dept. of Biology
> 216 Edmondson Hall
> University of Hawaii at Manoa
> Honolulu, HI 96822
> Ph. 808-956-8621
> Cell: 808-772-9563
> e-mail: watling at hawaii.edu

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