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Spinal column: the one thing vertebrates have in common that is easy to remember long after other bits and pieces are forgotten and new vertebrates may be discovered by science.

Helping the son do his science homework last night which included several pages on vertebrates, not only gave me an idea for this week’s post, it also brought back a few memories. That Biology exam I perfected in ninth grade, fancying becoming a medical doctor, falling in love with RJ, the town doctor’s son and dating him briefly (can’t blame myself – those red roses, as red as that vertebrate on the above photo, love letters and cards he sent while away in medschool were just lovely), RJ himself becoming a surgeon later and chatting me up live on Facebook recently to explain things while he was removing my son’s ruptured appendix….

Did RJ bend his spine while performing laparoscopic appendectomy on a fellow vertebrate? I wonder.

Apparently I did one morning in Laos while playing with another vertebrate, Malcolm Red. I named him after my own pet Malcolm Black, who gilled his last years ago. Next to humans, fish are some of my favorite vertebrates. They are fascinating in literature, animation and movies.

1 James Pond a fish in a video game based on a James Bond styled fish
2 Freddie Fish in the Freddie Fish Series
3 Cleo a goldfish owned by the word carver Gepetto in Pinocchio
4 Dory a palette surgeonfish in Finding Nemo
5 Flounder a tropical fish, Ariel’s sidekick in The Little Mermaid
6 Mrs Puff a pufferfish in Spongebob Squarepants
7 Edward Bloom in the Big Fish
8 The Crested Basketfish in Astonishing Animals by Tim Flannery
9 Swimmy a blackfish in Swimmy by Leo Lionni
10 Ikaroa a longfish in Maori mythology
11 Namazu a giant catfish that causes earthquakes in Japanese mythology
12 Oscar a bluestreak cleaner wrasse in Shark Tale
13 Inspector Gill an anthropomorphic fish in the Fishwrap Comics

ABC Wednesday / Thursday 13