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Glossary

A glossary of science-related words.

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zircon

A mineral found in igneous rocks and in sedimentary rocks made up from fragments of igneous material. It often contains radioactive elements, which makes it useful in some radiometric dating techniques.

zirconia

A white crystalline oxide of the metal element zirconium (atomic number 40). Certain forms of zirconia are used as advanced ceramics with engineering and medical applications.

zodiac

A series of 12 constellations that are centred upon the ecliptic – the apparent path of the Sun, Moon and visible planets as they cross the sky (celestial sphere).

zoea

Early stage in the life cycle of a crab. Characterised by the use of thoracic appendages to swim.

zonule

A ring of ligaments connecting the ciliary body and the lens of the eye that hold the lens in place.

zoology

The study of animals.

zoonosis

A virus that normally infects animals that is able to infect humans.

zooplankton

Tiny shrimp-like animals that drift with water currents.

zygote

The diploid cell that results from the joining of two haploid gametes (fertilisation).