A Theory of Unintelligible Design
By Mara Grunbaum
(Workman Publishing, Paperback, 9780761180340, 265pp.)
Publication Date: October 2014
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We all have our off days. Why should Evolution be any different? Maybe Evolution got carried away with an idea that was just a little too crazy like having the Regal Horned Lizard defend itself by shooting "three-foot streams of blood from its eyes." Or maybe Evolution ran out of steam (Memo to Evolution: The Irrawaddy Dolphin looks like a prototype that should have been left on the drawing board). Or maybe Evolution was feeling cheeky a fish with hands? Joke s on you, Red Handfish Or maybe Evolution simply goofed up: How else to explain the overgrown teeth of the babirusas that curl backward over their face? Oops. Mara Grunbaum is a very smart, very funny science writer who celebrates the best or, really, the worst of Evolution s blunders. Here are more than 100 outlandish mammals, reptiles, insects, fish, birds, and other creatures whose very existence leaves us shaking our heads and muttering" WTF? " Ms. Grunbaum s especially brilliant stroke is to personify Evolution as a well-meaning but somewhat oblivious experimenter whose conversations with a skeptical narrator are hilarious. For almost 4 billion years, Evolution has produced a nonstop parade of inflatable noses, bizarre genitalia, and seriously awkward necks. What a comedian "