Book Review: The Tangled Bank

A few months ago, Sci had a secret shame. A secret, secret shame. For Sci is a science blogger, and blogs on Scienceblogs and…
…didn’t know ANYTHING about evolution.
Ok, perhaps that wasn’t exactly true. But Sci’s a physiologist, not an evolutionary biologist. I studied neuroanatomy, not HOW that neuroanatomy evolved. In my day to day life, I could care less how it GOT that way, what I’m concerned with is what goes wrong with it, and how I can go about fixing the problems to improve the lives of people. Let’s just say they don’t force us grad students to take classes in evolution, and while the basic ideas were covered in Bio 101, I hadn’t had much exposure to them since. It’s not that I don’t WANT to know about evolution. But if you’re going to give me a choice between, say, a book by Stephen Jay Gould and a book by Oliver Sacks, well…
And Sci’s always been a little ashamed of herself over this. I mean, I’m a SCIENTIST! Evolution is one of those things I’m…supposed to know about. For cocktail parties (cause, y’know, grad students go to a LOT of cocktail parties). Like stem cells and vaccines, there are things that people who aren’t scientists just kind of expect scientists to be versed in, or at least to have a relatively well-founded opinion on. Sci hates to disappoint.
And so, when, in the deep, dark night of a relatively early Wednesday morning before her first cup of coffee, Sci expressed her shame to Laelaps, Brian immediately had a solution. “Carl Zimmer just wrote a book on it!” quoth Brian, “you should ask to review a copy!”
Hmmm…learning about evolution (check). Learning about it from a blogger I totally respect (check! His tattoo gallery is wicked!). Free book (BONUS!).
I emailed Carl. I was TOTALLY TOTALLY thrilled when I realized he had actually HEARD OF ME!!! *squee!*
And a few days later, I got a TOME in the mail. A tome of SCIENCE!!!
tangled bank.png
(DUDE! Is that Tiktallik on the cover!? SWEET!)

The Tangled Bank: an Introduction to Evolution by Carl Zimmer
Unfortunately, Sci got a galley copy of the book. For those unfamiliar with the publishing world, that means a GIGANTIC PILE of xeroxed pages, as yet unbound. I ended up being very sad about this, which I will get into. SciCat, on the other hand, approves of the galley copy, and is in favor of all books being in this format. She’s sitting on it now.

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