Nicolaus Steno

A 17th century anatomist discovers a duct, and asserts some basic tenets of geology and crystallography before becoming a bishop . . .


Nicolaus Steno, a Dane,
Said old rocks will be overlain
By younger ones, neatly stacked on them discretely.
(Seems obvious now – quite mundane.)

He’d studied shark’s teeth, so he knew
When he found them in rocks (as you do)
That they’d come from a jaw, not, as folk thought before,
Been grown there, or dropped from the blue.

And that is not all, for what’s more
He’s got an eponymous Law –
And a Duct (it’s quite little and fills up with spittle,
But it hadn’t been noticed before).

At last, he set science aside
To follow a spiritual guide:
The Church sent him forth to Germany’s north.
But just nine years later, he died.

[Image: NASA]
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