Anatomy word of the month: tragus

October 1, 2010 —

The small flap of skin covered cartilage at the front of your ear canal is named “goat” in Greek! Tragi is the term for hair that grows in the outer ear canal, especially in older men. So, tragus is a fanciful reference to the chin whiskers of a he-goat. Goatee, a narrow pointed beard, is a similar reference.


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?