The Difference Between Arthropods & Orthopods

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Today, we help describe the similarities and differences between two interesting creatures: arthropods and orthopods.  Let’s begin!


An arthropod is an invertebrate animal with an exoskeleton that doesn’t care about anyone else’s bones.  An orthopod is a vertebrate animal with an endoskeleton that cares deeply about everyone else’s bones; they show their affection by beating on them with hammers and drills.  An arthropod has a segmented body and jointed appendages.  An orthopod does not have a segmented body, and it loves joints and appendages.  An arthropod’s exoskeleton is made up of calcium.  An orthopod’s favorite mineral is calcium.

Whereas arthropods have adapted to life in both wet and dry environments, orthopods have adapted to life only in operating rooms (ORs).  This explains why orthopods consult everyone known to man outside of the OR: they would perish on their own through natural selection.  Arthropods account for more than 75% of the world’s known species of animals, but orthopods account for an impressive 100% of the world’s known hip and knee replacements.

Orthopods consult for preoperative “clearance” or post-op fever.  Arthropods do not.  Both arthropods and orthopods may not be very pleasant in person, especially if it’s early and they haven’t had coffee.  Both arthropods and orthopods struggle with electrocardiograms (ECGs).

Insects are a subgroup of arthropods that are pesky and annoying.  Interns (orthopodinos) are a subgroup of orthopods that are also pesky and annoying.  Cockroaches and tarantulas are pretty unpleasant, but nothing compared to the bolus of consults for orthopedic patients with absolutely no medical problems.

Some arthropods have specialized parts to help them breathe (gills), collect information (antennas), and grasp (claws).  All orthopods have specialized parts to help them breathe (lungs), collect information (smartphones), and smash (fists).

Arthropods have exoskeletons made up of three different layers: epidermis, epicuticle, and exocuticle.  Orthopods do not have exoskeletons but still have three different layers: epidermis, scrubs, and a black fleece with a rad symbol or slogan on it.  Arthropod exoskeletons are thick and strong, impermeable to stress.  Orthopod skulls are thick and strong, impermeable to dialogue and suggestions.  Arthropods have tremendously complex visual systems: compound eyes and ocelli.  Orthopods have remarkably simple visual systems: “That’s a bone!” or “That’s not a bone.”

Arthropods have communicated meaningful information through millions and millions of years of fossil records.  Orthopods, however, have yet to communicate any meaningful information through decades and decades of medical records.

Now, do you know the difference between…
a medical student and a deer in headlights?
a medicine service and a garbage dump?
medical students & residents?
RICE & rice?
white clouds & black clouds?

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