Invagination: A Contest

Carrie S. has been struggling with something. I’ll let her explain:

The Greatest Show on EarthWhen I’m not reading romance, I’m slogging through The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. Most of it is quite entertaining, but the section on embryology was just brutal.  I am almost as entirely clueless about embryology as I was when I started the chapter.  As a perk, however, it did provide me with several exciting new vocabulary words.  Check this out: 

“In neurlation, as in gastrulation, invagination is much in evidence.” 

Invagi-what?  Seriously?  I’m just going to start saying that, all the time.  People will either think I’m a genius or a total perv. But wait, there’s more!  For my new favorite words in their full glory, I submit the following excerpt: 

“Gastrulation and neurulation are accomplished early in development and they affect the whole shape of the embryo.  Invagination and other ‘inflating origami’ manoeuvres achieve these stages of early embryology, and they and similar tricks are involved later in development, when specialized organs like eyes and the heart are made.” 

If that doesn’t cry out for a contest, I don’t know what does.  So, use the word “invagination” in a sentence (or sentences).  Extra-credit for using “gastrulation”.  If it involves inflating origami, so much the better.  Winner to be chosen by means of Sarah’s magical random winner-chooser technology.  Winner receives unending glory, and I will make a $25 donation to the American Red Cross in your name.   

Get your dictionaries out and start writing!

SB Sarah adds: Standard disclaimers apply. We are not being compensated for this contest. Void where prohibited. Spay and neuter your pets. Wax on, wax off.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    bets says:

    Invagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions—

  2. 2
    EbonyMcKenna says:

    Come with me,
    and you’ll be
    in a world of pure invagilation,
    take a look,
    and you’ll see,
    it’s not merely gastrulation

    We’ll begin
    With a spin
    for some pure embryonic creation
    What we’ll see
    Will defy

    If you want neurulation
    Simply look around and view it
    Anything you want to, do it
    Infalting origami?
    Nothing to it!

  3. 3
    orangehands says:

    The cyborg egg had to make a choice: invaginate under the pressure, or grastrulate and take the next step in creating really life-like robots.

    The egg let out an evil chuckle. It would create the next step of robots, of course. They were needed for the world domination and pie eating contests.

  4. 4
    AgTigress says:

    The contest is a fine idea, but I do have to defend Richard Dawkins, here.  ‘Slogging through’?  Come on, Dawkins is a highly readable and entertaining writer, extremely adept at conveying scientific concepts to the layperson.  I am not a biologist by training, let alone an embryologist or geneticist, but I found The Greatest Show on Earth clear and easy to grasp.

    In general, I see no difficulty at all about technical or specialised words that may not be familiar in everyday conversation, provided they have been explained and defined in the text, and Dawkins is meticulous about doing just that.  He does not drop technical words into his writing without defining them, frequently with diagrams as well as words.  The diagrams of neurulation, gastrulation and invagination in the book are beautifully clear and comprehensible, and of course the reference to origami, which seems off-the-wall when taken out of context, makes perfect sense as a vivid metaphor for the growth and changing forms of cells.  Furthermore, invagination itself is a totally obvious term because of the well-known etymology of vagina:  ‘sheath, scabbard’.

  5. 5
    Sarah W says:


    It appears that one person’s invagination is another person’s gastriculation.

    And sure, that’s my entry—It’s too busy giving EbonyMcKenna a standing ovation to think up anything half as clever.

  6. 6
    Sarah W says:

    I mean, “I’M too busy.”

    And undercaffeinatied, clearly.

  7. 7
    Ben P says:

    Invagination (verb, intransitive]

    Invagination is a process revolving around the act of imagining that something is, in fact a vagina. This is a predominantly male phenomenon and occurs most frequently among young teenagers and various professional groups such as IT specialists and salesmen.

    Invagination also arises as a side effect of acute gastrulation. This occurs most frequently among salesmen. Gastrulation describes an affliction in which slimy assclowns’ sleazy attempts at picking up women are full of fail and more closely resemble verbal flatulence than anything likely to make a real (in contrast to an imaginary) woman go all “rawr & gimme some hot monkey lovin’”.

    Invagination often involves the use of diverse substitutes ranging from the technologically advanced blow-up doll to significantly more simple but no less inventive alternatives such as cored fruit, domesticated fauna and the perennial favourite: The heated, hollowed out bread roll filled with butter.

    [Author’s note: After heating (generally in a microwave), please allow the bread roll adequate time to cool. Explaining to your doctor how you came to have those embarrassing burns and blisters on your wang just sucks. Not that I would know this. It’s more of a rumour, honestly.]

    Perhaps the most advanced form of invagination involves the interruption of the blood flow to one hand, usually by sitting on it for an extended period of time, until sufficient numbness occurs without completely impairing manual dexterity. As a result of said numbness the hand thus feels entirely like someone else’s. Combined with adequate lubricant, this represents the pinnacle of innovative invagination.

    [Authors’s note: Or so I have heard. Knowing shit like this is just wrong.]

  8. 8
    EbonyMcKenna says:

    And I meant to type ‘invagination’ instead of invagilation but I was giggling too much!’

    and now I’m falling about laughing at Ben P’s imagery of a heated, hollowed out bread roll . . bwaahahahah!

  9. 9
    Nadia says:

    Something went very wrong during Jack’s werewolf conversion.  Who knew if you were bit by the female alpha, you’d turn in to a female wolf every full moon?  Now Jack is invaginated monthly, and the stress of it all has really given him a severe case of gastrulation.

  10. 10
    Deadline Hell says:

    LOL @ Ben

    Gastrulation is
    A fragrant queef after great

  11. 11
    AgTigress says:

    …too busy giving EbonyMcKenna a standing ovation to think up anything half as clever.

    :D The words certainly seem to have inspired some creative thinking here!

  12. 12

    When my boyfriend came back from his week-long business trip, I was ready to get down to some serious invagination. Unfortunately, he decided we needed to pop out for dinner first. Turns out the oysters were bad, so my night of invagination morphed into gastrulation.

  13. 13
    Sarah S says:

    The Duchess’s teacup rattled perilously in its saucer as she attempted to regain her composure.

    “You don’t mean to tell me that the silly child has gone and gotten herself…..” She glanced around furtively and completed the sentence in a whisper. “…ruined?”

    “Oh dear no. Not, I think, entirely. There appears to have been…that is, she tells that that ….” Again the furtive glance and the whisper as her sister leaned in closely. “…there was no…invagination.”

  14. 14
    Lisa J says:

    From Wikipedia…

    Gastrulation takes place after cleavage…

    The invagination was fun especially once the gastrulation took place after cleavage.

  15. 15
    ks says:

    Ebony McKenna wins, hands down.  I couldn’t come up with anything half as invaginated or gastrulated as that.

    Also, I agree with AgTigress about Dawkins.  I’m a physics teacher, so science stuff isn’t completely incomprehensible to me, but biology is definitely not my thing.  However, Dawkins is a really good writer—all his books that I’ve read have been clear, interesting, and entertaining.

  16. 16
    MarieC says:

    @ Sarah W:

    And sure, that’s my entry—It’s too busy giving EbonyMcKenna a standing ovation to think up anything half as clever.

    Don’t you mean ‘Standing Ovulation’?

    “In desparate need of invagination, having been without since Red’s untimely demise, Irma’s jaunt to the local roadhouse was a total bust. A teetotaler at best, little did she know that beer gave her a debilitating case of gastrulation. And as all ladies know, one never breaks wind in mixed company.”

  17. 17
    ReganB says:

    Yeah, I’m gonna have to put my vote in for Ebony McKenna too.  That’s bloody brilliant!

    Although, I do have to say…the first thing I thought of when I read this was this little factoid:  When we are first in the embryonic stage, one of the first things that gets made is the anus.  Yes, that’s right.  We all start out as assholes.  :D

    And with that, I leave you to your day.

  18. 18
    Chelsea says:

    So since I’m a biology student with a development focus, I see these words all the time and think nothing of it. I forget how the vocab might sound to people outside the feild. Memorably, I once had a teacher explain gastrulation by poking his finger into a partially inflated balloon. Anyway…

    “He began the invagination with agonizing slowness, awakening a neurulation as neither of them had ever experienced. He curessed her inflating origami, causing her to shudder with pleasure.”

  19. 19
    JamiSings says:

    Why would anyone read anything by that moron? One of these days he’ll have to accept the fact God exists, grow up, and get over himself.

    With people like Snooki around there’s no way anyone can logically believe in the theory of evolution.

    Dawkins is an idiot.

  20. 20
    Carrie S says:

    @Ebony McKenna:  Will U marry me?

  21. 21
    Kathlyn says:

    Is it just me, or did one person here totally miss the spirit of this blog (the site is “Smart Bitches” not “Stupid Bitchiness”)?

    Kudos to the rest of you!

  22. 22
    Carrie S says:

    @AgTigress:  Yikes!  Let me just defend both my own intelligence and, more importantly, the awesomeness that is Richard Dawkins.  I’m used to zipping through a novel a day, so slowing down enough to fully understand everything in a nonfiction book always feels sloggy by comparison.  Also, call me what you will, but for some reason that particular chapter just knocked me out.  BUT, in general, I love Dawkins!  I’m not a bio student or anything, I’m reading him for fun – which I do, because Dawkins is fun to read, just a lot slower (for me) than a fiction book would be.  I apologize to any and all who think I’m maligning him – he is a genius at making science fun and accessible for the layperson.  So, there you have it – Dawkins rocks, but I still think you can make some pretty funny sentences using misused jargon, and so far the entries are backing me up in that regard!

  23. 23
    Chelsea says:

    Dawkins is guilty of one thing that I hate: Making it seem that Evolution and God a mutually exclusive concepts. They are not.

    But major respect to Carrie S. for curiousity enough to read a something unfimiliar AND see humor in it. :D

  24. 24
    Tina C. says:

    With apologies to The Temptations

    “….It was just my invagination
    And other inflating origami
    I tell you, it was just my invagination
    I’m completely gastrulation-free…”

  25. 25
    Melissa says:

    Sergio let his towel fall to the floor, stepped into the shower, and turned on the hot water, and began gastrulating.  As he imagined Ramona’s cleavage, his origami inflated until he was about to triploblast. Just as he was imagining what it would feel like to invaginate her, the water streaming from the showerhead turned from hot to ice cold.  His origami underwent speedy ingression and his gastrulation came to an abrupt, and unsatisfying, end.

  26. 26
    Grumpy Songster says:

    Excuse me dear, I’m running late,
    I had to go and gastrulate.
    It started up without a warning,
    And took the whole [deleted] morning.
    Don’t neurulate! If memory serves,
    It means you’re getting on my nerves,
    And it’s unfair to be so hated
    Just ‘cause I went and gastrulated.
    So come with me and be my honey
    Instead of looking at me funny;
    We’ll find a spot, just you and me,
    And there invaginate with glee
    (but tell your Mom and Dad and Grammy
    we just inflated origami)!
    So meet me, dearest, at the station
    En route to our invagination!
    And thus, for better or for worse,
    I end my embryonic verse!

  27. 27
    Sarah W says:


    Don’t you mean ‘Standing Ovulation’?

    OMG!  There were eggs


  28. 28
    Sarah W says:

    Holy Cow, can’t type.  I’m now clearly OVERcaffeinated

    Second try:

    Don’t you mean ‘Standing Ovulation’?

    OMG!  There were eggs everywhere!

  29. 29
    AgTigress says:

    Dawkins rocks, but I still think you can make some pretty funny sentences using misused jargon, and so far the entries are backing me up in that regard!

    Carrie S. — total agreement from me.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the witty posts using these words. 
    I’m glad you enjoy Dawkins’s work;  I agree that one can’t read him as quickly as a romance novel. :-)

  30. 30
    LEW says:

    @Chelsea, I agree with you. I am trained in evolutionary biology and I can’t stand Dawkins – he’s done far more harm in the evolution/creationism fight than help.  He’s as narrow-minded in his defense of science as creationists are in their defense of fundamentalism.

    David Quammen is a writer I recommend who is fantastic at getting science across to the layperson with humor and great story-telling.

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