Photo: Flickr user lifeontheedge

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Turritopsis nutricula is a jellyfish with a life cycle in which it reverts back to the polyp stage after becoming sexually mature. It is the only known animal capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature stage after having reached sexual maturity. It does this through the cell development process of transdifferentiation. This cycle then repeats, rendering it effectively immortal.


llywrch said...

The articles linked here led me to confront a common problem on Wikipedia.

The "transdifferation" article mentioned something called "Barrett's metaplasia". Now, for reasons not relevant here, the only time I have heard the name Barrett in relation to a medical condition is the phrase "Barrett's esophagus" -- & Wikipedia's article on the later did not exclude the possibility that it could be identical with the former -- although the jargon in the two articles prevented me from being 100% sure.

Too often, articles in Wikipedia lapse into jargon that only someone familiar with the topic would understand. Instead of explaining the topic, even in a biassed, incomplete manner, the user is confronted with an oblique text. This is what happened for me with both articles involved.

Despite my misgivings, I decided to be bold & create a link at the words "Barrett's esophagus" to the article. Still, I have to wonder if we are failing our users in yet another way.

Not to criticize your post here, Tlogmer, but I felt it was worth sharing. And I suspect you have more readers than I do. :)


Ben Yates said...

Well, I still hide the feed count down at the bottom of the sidebar. :P

The encyclopedia of life is going to have a novice-to-expert slider that changes what text is displayed, which is a great idea. Wikipedia is zig-zagging toward a non-software based solution -- a couple articles already have "introduction to" versions.