D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson was an aristocrat of learning whose intellectual endowments are not likely ever again to be combined within one man. D’Arcy Thompson had not merely the makings but the actual accomplishments of three scholars. In D’Arcy Thompson’s earliest writings there is little to suggest that he would one day slough off the coils of evolutionary anatomism, though one of his papers – ‘On the Nature and Action of Certain Ligaments,’ 1884 – is evidence that he was interested in bones for how they worked rather than for what they might have to say about their owners’ evolutionary credentials. The trabeculae, D’Arcy reminds people, are not permanent structures: they are constantly being broken down and formed anew, and if by mischance a bone should be broken and should reunite in some abnormal fashion, the trabeculae will shape themselves into a new pattern governed by the new and altered system of stresses and strains.