Monday, January 09, 2006

Pottos, redux

Two mini-mysteries solved this evening. First, it transpires that while London Zoo's pottos are indeed still in the zoo, they're not going to be on display to the public while their new home is built. Clearly, I must move to Cleveland, or else donate £500 for a private visit.

Seriously, if animals can be cared for better behind the scenes, then that's where they should be. The zoo did offer to let me adopt another animal instead, but I'd rather keep supporting the pottos because, well, they're just special. I'll also continue to bring you potto news from around the world, so keep checking back every hour or so.

Secondly, as promised, here's what the OED
has to say about redux:


[L., f. redcre to bring back, REDUCE.]

1. Path. Of crepitation or other physical signs: indicating the return of an organ to a healthy state.

1898 Allbutt's Syst. Med. V. 99 The ‘redux’ crepitation is sometimes indistinguishable from that of pulmonary hæmorrhage. Ibid. 360 Friction sound, indicative of restored contact between the pleural surfaces, redux friction as it is usually called.


2. Brought back, restored.

[1662 DRYDEN (title) Astraea Redux. A poem on the happy restoration and return of His Sacred Majesty.] 1873 TROLLOPE (title) Phineas redux. 1971 J. UPDIKE (title) Rabbit redux.



I'd never heard of the first, medical definition, but the second definition suggests that my theory about how the word entered common usage is correct.

And as a tribute to our friends in seclusion, here's the OED's
entry for potto:


[Alleged to be from a Guinea dialect (see quot. 1705); cf. Ashanti aps(s)o. (See J. Platt in N. & Q. 10th ser. IV. 286.)]

1. A West African lemur (Perodicticus potto), commonly called a ‘sloth’. Also potto lemur. b. Calabar potto, a species of lemur (Arctocebus calabarensis), inhabiting the district of Old Calabar.

1705 tr. Bosman's Guinea 250 A Creature, by the Negroes called Potto [orig. een beest, 'tgeen by de negers de naem van potto draegt], but known to us by the Name of Sluggard. 1868 OWEN Vertebr. Anim. III. 405 In the Potto the sub~maxillary ducts open in the usual position, upon the free margin of the sublingual. 1901 Q. Rev. July 18 That most typical West African creature, the potto lemur. 1902 Westm. Gaz. 28 May 12/1 To a weird-looking and nocturnal creature with the eyes of a cat and the body of a tailless monkey the name of ‘Bosman's Potto’ has been given. 1906 SIR H. JOHNSTON Liberia 685 The range of the common potto extends right across Africa from Sierra Leone to Uganda.

2. The kinkajou. Also potto kinkajou.

1790 T. BEWICK Quadrupeds (1824) 446 One of this species [Yellow Macauco] was shewn in London some years ago, and was said to have been brought from Jamaica, where it is called the Potto. 1834 MCMURTRIE Cuvier's Anim. Kingd. I. 84 This is, perhaps, the only proper place for the singular genus of the Kinkajous or Potto... From the warm parts of America, and from some of the great Antilles, where it is called Potto. 1855 H. G. DALTON Brit. Guiana II. 456 The Potto-kinkajou, size of a pole-cat, a pretty looking animal, is occasionally seen.


(Although not closely related to the true potto, the kinkajou is a pretty neat little creature too.)

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