Nomenclature Rule

In Life: An Unauthorized Biography, Richard Fortey documented a biologists’ rule:

The most primitive of  bacteria are known by the most wondrous jargon, mastery of which is guaranteed to cause jaws to drop at social functions, for the correct designation of many of them is ‘chemolithoautotrophic hyperthermophiles.’ Since these bacteria are only a thousandth of a millimetre long — minute rods, discs, or cocci (spheres), this affords an example of a rule well known to biologists: that the length of the description is inversely proportional to the size of the organism.

No doubt Fortey is an accomplished raconteur, but I find his written work almost unbearably wordy and have to take it in small doses.

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