petrous

adjective
pe·​trous | \ ˈpe-trəs How to pronounce petrous (audio) , ˈpē- How to pronounce petrous (audio) \

Definition of petrous

: of, relating to, or constituting the exceptionally hard and dense portion of the human temporal bone that contains the internal auditory organs

Examples of petrous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To optimize their chance of success, the researchers targeted the DNA stored in the petrous, a super dense bone that encases the inner ear. National Geographic, "First ancient genomes from West Africa reveal complexity of human ancestry," 22 Jan. 2020 More recently, scientists have used the petrous bone of the skull, a highly dense bone near the ear, to extract ancient DNA. Jay Bennett, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Top Ten Scientific Discoveries of the Decade," 6 May 2012 But then Johannes Krause and his team at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History tested the samples from a handful of petrous bones. Andrew Curry, National Geographic, "The first Europeans weren’t who you might think," 12 July 2019 The surge in aDNA data is due to cheaper, faster methods for reading genetic code, as well as the discovery three years ago that the dense petrous bone of the inner ear can preserve up to 100 times more aDNA than other skeletal parts. Bridget Alex, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Ancient DNA Starts Answering Archaeology's Big Questions," 1 Jan. 2019 But if there’s any hope of obtaining some, the sample would likely come from the teeth or petrous bone, since their extreme density protects DNA well. Christian Als, Smithsonian, "Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets," 29 May 2017 All of those came from the petrous part of the temporal bone, which is the tough part of the skull behind the ear, from five different individuals. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "Fate of Ancient Canaanites Seen in DNA Analysis: They Survived," 27 July 2017 DNA begins degrading immediately after death, so scientists look for pockets that tend to be preserved in hair, molar teeth, and the petrous bone near the inner ear. National Geographic, "These Famous People Were Dug Up After Death—Here's Why," 12 July 2017 But if there’s any hope of obtaining some, the sample would likely come from the teeth or petrous bone, since their extreme density protects DNA well. Christian Als, Smithsonian, "Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets," 2 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'petrous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of petrous

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for petrous

Middle English petrouse, petrous, borrowed from Latin petrōsus "rocky, stony," from petra "rock" (borrowed from Greek pétra) + -ōsus -ous — more at petro-

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Time Traveler for petrous

Time Traveler

The first known use of petrous was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Petrous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/petrous. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for petrous

petrous

adjective
pe·​trous | \ ˈpe-trəs How to pronounce petrous (audio) , ˈpē- How to pronounce petrous (audio) \

Medical Definition of petrous

: of, relating to, or constituting the exceptionally hard and dense portion of the human temporal bone that contains the internal auditory organs and is a pyramidal process wedged in at the base of the skull between the sphenoid and occipital bones with its lower half exposed on the surface of the skull and pierced by the external auditory canal

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