Friday, February 10, 2006


I am currently reading a book called Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Form, by Michael Sims. It is a very interesting book, and I am learning all kinds of things.

Today, for example, I learned that the scientific name for earwax is cerumen, and that human beings can be divided into two types: those with sticky, brown, wet cerumen, and those with brittle, greyish or beige cerumen. The book says that in general, Africans and Europeans possess the former and Asians the latter. He writes that wet wax is a dominant trait and dry recessive. He also adds that scientists in Japan discovered that Japanese breast cancer rates are higher in women whose ceruminous glands produce sticky earwax.

Well. How about that, eh? I expect everybody who reads this to get out their cotton buds and investigate which section of humanity they belong to.

(The first section of this post was dedicated to Ms Mac, who never goes anywhere without her cotton buds.)

I also learned, from the same book, that the duck-billed platypus has more REM sleep than any other creature, at eight hours a day. This leads me to wonder what the duck-billed platypus dreams of. You could fit an awful lot of dreaming into eight hours.

(The second section of this post is dedicated to The Editter, who, in the comments of this post, invented the hog-nosed ratypus, a close cousin of the duck-billed platypus.)

This post may be a trivial one, but you have to admit you're just a little bit cleverer now than you were before you read it. Also, you have some new topics of conversation for those awkward moments at dinner parties.


Ms Mac said...

And because I never go anywhere without my cotton buds I know for certain that I do in fact have wet, brown, sticky earwax!

I am honoured to have half a post about bodily fluids dedicated to me/ Thankyou, thankyou very much!

kenju said...

That is pretty interesting. One of my grandkids has wet, dark brown, sticky wax and it accumulates at an alarmingly fast rate. No one else in the family has that, that I know of. Wonder what that means, genetically speaking?

The Editter said...

I also feel very honoured to have half a post dedicated to me. I wonder if you know if there are other kinds of platypusses (platypi? plattercats?) other than duck-billed? Perhaps I'd better check out that link.

Radioactive Jam said...

I think I have both.

Fuzzball said...

Uggghhhhh earwax. The bane of my existence. Okay, that's a bit dramatic...but come on, it's WAX in your EAR. Ewwwww

Cheryl said...

Erm, sticky beige here. Gosh what a mongrel.

Kevin B. said...

"Also, you have some new topics of conversation for those awkward moments at dinner parties."

Ah yes, I can hear it now: "I say, is yours the sticky, brown, wet earwax, or is it the brittle, greyish or beige kind?"


Wendy said...

Supposedly that sticky brown earwax is good for healing cold sores too....bleugh! (Read that somewhere on a blog this week.)

Pkchukiss said...

I clear my ears out every week (I couldn't bear to mention that I actually dig them out religiously with a solid metal ear-digger). It is amazing how much wax we humans accumulate in just one week!

On a side note, be careful whenever you mine your ear, especially with the ear-picks: don't dig it in too far, or you might risk damaging your inner ear canal; which I know causes you to have hearing problems later on in life.

Happy digging!