Sunday Express, April 1, 2018

For the nth time, anything that comes from an egg ‘hatches’ or ‘is hatched’. It is not ‘born’. Maybe I will see it done correctly before I die, but it doesn’t seem likely.

Ducklings are ‘nidifugous’ (Latin: nidus nest, fugere to flee) which means they are able to walk, swim and catch their own food as soon as they hatch. There are no ‘first tentative steps’. This is not an obscure piece of knowledge – anyone who has seen young ducklings must be aware of it. I’ve said it before – there seems to be an attitude these days that knowing anything about nature or science (or Latin, for that matter) is ‘nerdy’ and that it is a badge of honour to be ignorant. How sad.

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