One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of small invertebrates) living on the ground but hidden in the leaf litter under stones or pieces of wood.
- ‘The very luxuriance of the vegetation, however, with its unlimited hiding-places for cryptozoic animals, made the task of collection more difficult than it would have been in a clearer neighbourhood, where the animals are concentrated, as it were, in a comparatively few spots.’
- ‘This may account in part for the paucity of crepuscular to nocturnal or cryptozoic to fossorial skink lineages in the interior.’
Late 19th century: from Greek kruptos ‘hidden’ + zōē ‘life’ + -ic.
Relating to or denoting the period (the Precambrian) in which rocks contain no, or only slight, traces of living organisms.Compare with Phanerozoic
- ‘The Cryptozoic rocks are exposed in the continental shield areas and show patterns of orogenic activity.’
- ‘The term ‘Precambrian’ is still used for Cryptozoic rocks, but tends to be applied loosely to formations lying beneath identified Cambrian strata and of uncertain age.’
Early 20th century: from Greek kruptos ‘hidden’ + zōē ‘life’ + -ic.
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