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‘Regeneration’ means rebirth, either of the cut-away tail of a lizard, or of the spirit of a sinner. ‘Pregnancy’ is the stage before giving birth (L. pre-, before).

All the living organisms are divided into different groups, based on similarities in their structure or origin, etc. There are eight main taxonomic ranks—domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.


The taxonomic classification of humans is given below:



Eukaryota (the other two domains are Bacteria, and Archaea, both of which belong to single celled microorganisms.)


     Animalia (the other eukaryotic kingdoms are Plantae, Fungi and Protista (unicellular organisms like Amoeba)).


Chordata (the animals having a flexible spinal column. Even cats and lions fall in the same phylum).


Mammalia (the chordates who suckle their young ones. Cats and lions are still with us.)


Primate1 (adapted to climbing trees, use hands and have a large brain. Cats and lions go to the order of carnivores).


Hominidae (also known as ‘The Family of Great Apes’, it has only four members—humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.)


Homo (humans and related extinct species).


Homo sapiens



Ingenuity: (n) the state of being ingenious.

  • Like the dhobis we talked about in the footnote for ‘ingenious’, the dabbawaalaas of Mumbai too manage their work with remarkable ingenuity. Their job is to collect tiffins from the homes of the city’s office workers and deliver them to their offices. Thanks to their ingenious system, their accuracy rate is an astounding 99.99%! Like the dhobis, they too have a code language of their own. For example, if a dabba has “3” marked at its centre, it means its destination is Nariman Point. Its precise office address at Nariman Point is marked in red on its side. Say, it is 10MT6. This means it is to go to the 10th floor, office number 6 at Mittal Tower. When the empty dabbas are collected from the offices after the lunch hour, they are kept upside down, showing the code on the bottom of the dabba.

Suppose it is 10K. That means that the dabba is to be unloaded at the Kandivali area in Churchgate.


Taxonomy: (n) division of living organisms into different groups, based on similarities in their structure or origin, etc.

Origin: Gk. taxis, arrangement+ nomos, law => ‘law of arrangement’


Phylum: (n) the main subdivision of a kingdom, which groups together all the organisms that have similar body structure.


Primate: (n) family of mammals that have highly developed features like binocular vision, specialized limbs for grasping and the ability to think intelligently. Includes humans, monkeys and apes.

Origin: L primus, first => ‘leader’

Anything which pertains to all the members of a genus, or less accurately, of any group or kind is called generic. For example, ‘wooden furniture’ is the generic term that includes all the items made from eucalyptus, pine, oak or any other wood. ‘Oak furniture’ is the ‘specific’ term (just like ‘species’ lies under the ‘genus’ in the taxonomic tree). ‘Student’ is a generic noun, because it does not specify the gender. Cola is a generic term because it does not specify whether the person has a Coke, a Pepsi or some other brand in his hand.


‘Generalities’ are vague statements; the speaker does not specify exactly what he will do or who he is referring to; there is a total lack of particulars. Politicians are adept at them.

‘Homogeneous’ groups have same kind of people, and ‘heterogeneous’ groups are quite the opposite (Gk homos, same, Gk heteros, other).


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