A seahorse is not a walrus!

Recently, I visited the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the USA. It is a beautiful facility with an amazing collection of wildlife, including not only aquatic species, but some others as well. One of the first exhibits I saw was about seahorses.

I was thinking about Esperanto, as I always do, and I realized that I did not know the Esperanto name for seahorses. I checked my trusty vortaro on my poŝtelefono, but all I could find was the name rosmaro. When I backtracked the word, it is actually the name for walruses, which also used to be referred to as “sea horses,” but that is not a common reference to them in modern American English.

So, I posted the question on Twitter and in the Duolingo Esperanto Learners group on Facebook. I almost instantly got a response. (Thanks guys!)

The word for “seahorse” in Esperanto is: HIPOKAMPO. This comes from the Greek, and means something like “sea monster horse.” I suppose that this is a good name for these unusual and beautiful creatures.

Interestingly, there is a region of the brain known as the hippocampus. It also has the name hipokampo in Esperanto. I had no idea why, until I was shown this photo:


Incredible, eh? I am astounded and amazed at the shocking similarity in the shapes of these two. Who knew we were all walking around with little seahorses living inside our heads!

I love Esperanto, because learning one thing always leads me to being informed about many other things.

I will be posting more about my trip to the Tennessee Aquarium soon!


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