Summary: We may regard ourselves as the most advanced species on the planet, but have we really reached our optimum design? Isn't there always room for improvements? Before you answer, let noted evolutionary biologist George C. Williams remind you of both the exquisite adaptations and absurd maladaptations nature has bestowed upon us, the self-proclaimed "pinnacle of evolution." Picking up where Darwin left off, Williams combines philosophical perspective and scient ...show moreific method to provide a foundation for the answers to some fascinating questions. He explains why our bodies have to deteriorate so disastrously with old age. He gives us logical reasons to explain why we crave foods like sugar and fat that have been proven time and again to be detrimental to our health. And Williams single-handedly deflates our Homo sapiens sapiens ego with such insights as: Our eyesight-it may seem superior, but not when compared to that of the invertebrate squid, whose eye has developed over time to prove more efficient than ours. And wouldn't it make more sense to have a third eye, located on the back of the head? We could have stereoscopic vision in front and rear-vision warning us of danger sneaking up behind. Rear-view mirrors would become a thing of the past. And why stop at three eyes?
This fascinating new book is markedly different from all previous work on evolutionary biology. Using the pony fish and its luminescent abdomen as the perfect evolutionary mystery, Williams explores the intricacies of nature's designs. Rather than telling us how or why the pony fish got its light, Williams explains the functional reasons why the pony fish keeps its light. He also explains why our species keeps arbitrary or malfunctioned features like the reproductive and excretory systems' sharing of parts.
"I highly recommend this appealing collection of essays showing how evolutionary biology contributes to human thought on issues that concern medicine, philosophy, and the social sciences. A perfect introduction to a complex science for the non-specialist by a respected leader in the field. This is just the kind of book that would have hooked me on biology if I had read it as an uncommitted undergraduate." --Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
"This is a wonderful book. An eloquent essay on Darwinian evolutionary theory, in which George Williams draws on a deep understanding of the world of life to show how powerful natural selection is when faced with the most puzzling aspects of living beings. Everyone can learn from this work: students, teachers, professionals, and the general reader. Like eating peanuts...once you have started, you will not be able to stop! Highly recommended." --Michael Ruse, Professor of Philosophy and Zoology, University of Guelph