from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A spindle-shaped cell characteristic of certain tumors.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


    Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "To date, no neurological studies of the gray-whale brain have been done. In 2006, however, researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine analyzed the brains of two other baleen species — humpback and finback whales — as well as those of a number of toothed whales like dolphins and killer and sperm whales. The study revealed brain structures surprisingly similar to our own. Some, in fact, contained large concentrations of spindle cells — often referred to as the cells that make us human because of their link to higher cognitive functions like self-awareness, a sense of compassion and linguistic expression — with the added kick that whales evolved these same highly specialized neurons as many as 15 million years before we humans did, a stunning instance of a phenomenon biologists refer to as parallel evolution."

    "Watching Whales Watch Us," New York Times, here.

    July 15, 2009

  • Parallel evolution? Or humans are descended from whales and dolphins??

    July 15, 2009

  • As opposed to non-evolution, perhaps, rather than non-parallel. F&$%ed if I know. Neat article though.

    July 15, 2009

  • Do you think humans might be descended from whales, c_b?

    July 15, 2009

  • I sometimes think we'd be smarter as a whole if we were. :-)

    July 15, 2009

  • Well, given my pants issues of late, I have to admit it might be more fun to have a fluke.

    July 15, 2009

  • I think some people are descended from bears.

    July 17, 2009

  • Right, sean. I think we all agree on that. But the point is that bears are descended from whales.

    July 18, 2009

  • Bears definitely don't have flukes, yarb, plus how would you explain the existence of tappens, given the occasional bear pants issues? Did tappens evolve because of pants issues, or the other way around? Perhaps it was parallel... *cue spooky music*

    July 18, 2009

  • I don't know. You're the expert on tappens.

    July 18, 2009